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Fires currently burning in Victoria’s Alpine region are likely to cause disruption to a number of rally events scheduled for the next few months.

Dozens of fires are burning in the region bounded by Bright in the north and Woods Point in the south, and are expected to join up into one massive fire front unless contained over the next week.

The townships of Whitfield, Mansfield, Jamieson and Woods Point are at the heart of the fire front and although no events are scheduled in these areas for the next few months, authorities are likely to be wary of allowing rallies to proceed when there is a fire threat.

The Great Alpine Road Tour, based at Dinner Plain, near Mt Hotham, later this month, is one event where the organizers will be watching the progress of the fires with greater interest, Although not directly in the line of fires at the present time, fire authorities are concerned that the fire front may widen and head towards the Mt Hotham area as it did in the disastrous fires of 2004.

Depending on the ability of the fire fighters to bring the huge blaze under control, other events to be held over the next few months – the Lake Mountain Sprint on January 27 and the George Woods Introductory Trial which will be held in the Yarra Ranges area of Victoria on February 17, will come under scrutiny of Country Fire Authority officials already nervous about activity in these sensitive forest areas.

The CFA have been fighting the fires for a week with thousands of firefighters, and predict that the fires, burning in predominantly inaccessible areas, may continue burning for weeks, if not longer, and could pose a threat to heavily populated areas of Gippsland.

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