Servo's fury as entire town cut off 'for weeks'
Defence helicopters carting 4000 litres of unleaded fuel have made it to the bushfire-ravaged Mallacoota but the cut-off town is facing weeks of hardship.
The town's only operating service station closed on Saturday morning after it ran out of fuel, AAP reported.
Notes plastered to a window read "Sorry, will reopen when highway reopens" and "We have had enough. Beer before fuel," in reference to the 3000 litres of beer shipped into the town on the navy's HMAS Choules earlier in the week.
It's feared the coastal town could be cut off for weeks as hundreds of trees, destroyed by fire, are feared to fall at any moment.
At a community meeting last night, Senior Sergeant Rod Findlay said there was "no timeline" of when the road would be reopened, ABC reported.
"That road is extremely dangerous," he said.
"The army have driven it a couple of times in their armoured vehicles and they've had some very close calls.
"I'm not going to tell you it will be five days, seven days, 14 days … it's going to be a long time."
Federal member for Gippsland Darren Chester said two army vehicles were working to open the road into Mallacoota.
"There is no set timeframe for when the road will open to civilian traffic but teams are working on debris removal and assessment of hazardous trees at the moment," he said.
"If I was to take a guess, I would expect to see escorted convoys of supplies on the highway within days but it will be a lot longer until private vehicles can safely use the road."
According to the Ausnet outage map, around 600 properties in Mallacoota are still without power.
They are not expected to have it restored until after Wednesday, as technicians have not been able to access the region.
More than 1500 people were evacuated out of Mallacoota by the defence force over the last 10 days, making it Australia's largest peacetime humanitarian rescue mission since Cyclone Tracy.
Australia is yet again facing another week of bushfire catastrophe as residents in Victoria's East Gippsland region prepare to leave their homes to escape an out-of-control blaze.
The emergency warning comes as the death toll from bushfires climbed to 28 when a Victorian firefighter was struck and killed by a tree on Saturday.
Bill Slade, 60, was fighting fires in the Gippsland region near Omeo where he had worked as a firefighter for 40 years.
"He was much loved, an absolute mentor to many many people and we send our best wishes to Carol and his two kids, his broader family, friends, and his Forest Fire Management Victoria family," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Cooler conditions and some rain in NSW and Victoria helped slow out-of-control fires but they continue to burn and are likely to continue burning for several weeks.
More than 1.3 million hectares have been razed since November 21, while 286 homes and 400 other buildings have been damaged.