Wye River & Separation Creek Fires
December 2015 was one of the warmest months on record for Australia.
On 19 December 2015, lightning ignited a bushfire in the Otway Ranges National Park near Lorne, Victoria.
Severe fire weather conditions developed overnight on 24 December, including a strong northerly wind change. This led to the fire jumping containment lines and impacting on the townships of Wye River and Separation Creek early on the morning of 25 December.
Cooler conditions and overnight rainfall slowed the fire on the morning of 26 December, however the steep and heavily vegetated terrain continued to burn for several weeks.
No lives were lost as a result of this fire event, however the financial and emotional impact on the communities has been substantial.
A total of 109 houses were lost in the Wye River and Separation Creek townships, which equates to approximately 80% of buildings. This included both permanent residents and holiday homes.
The damage bill for the house loses alone is estimated to be $38 million. Total costs of damage for this event are estimated to be between $60-70 million, including the costs to coordinate, plan and deliver the required infrastructure and services to assist this community with its recovery.