3 Feb 2009

Bushfires in Victoria, floods in Queensland

11:37 am on 3 February 2009

Water-bombing aircraft and more than 100 firefighters will begin attacking a cluster of bushfires in remote parts of eastern Victoria sparked by lightning strikes on Monday night.

Department of Sustainability and Environment state duty officer Peter Billing said firefighting operations would begin on Tuesday as soon as conditions permitted.

"We've got a window of opportunity before later in the week when fire danger levels will increase substantially."

Victorian police are expected to announce on Tuesday a $A100,000 reward to help catch those responsible for lighting the devastating Delburn Complex bushfires in Gippsland, believed to have been deliberately lit.

In north Queensland, the ABC reports torrential rain from ex-tropical cyclone Ellie has cut major roads in and around Townsville.

Townsville received 211 millimetres of rainfall in 24 hours and Ingham recorded nearly 430 millimetres in the past two days, says the ABC.