A firefighter died battling a fire in Victoria's northeast Saturday,
bringing the death toll statewide to four, local emergency officials
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp confirmed the
firefighter's death and said it brought the total fatalities from the
bushfire season in the state of Victoria in southeast Australia to four.
Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said
the firefighter was fighting a blaze in Omeo, a town in the Shire of
East Gippsland, which is near the Alpine National Park.
The name of the firefighter has not been released.
Police planned to investigate the incident and prepare a report for the coroner.
The firefighter's death follows the death of another Forest Fires
Management worker, Mat Kavanagh, 43, who was killed in a car crash on
the Goulburn Valley Highway while on duty Jan. 3. Kavanagh is survived
by his wife, Jude, and two children.
On New Year's Day, two other men, Mick Roberts of Buchan and Fred Becker of Maramingo Creek, died in fires.
Bushfires have raged in East Gippsland since late November as fires
across the state have blazed through more than 3 million acres.
A state of disaster was lifted at midnight Saturday after firefighters
slowed the progress of a fire that threatened the Alpine towns of Bright
and Harrietville in northeast Victoria on Friday night.
Bairnsdale Incident Controller Brett Mitchell said the town came under
threat before rain Friday night subdued the fire's intensity.
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