Wodonga Council
Bushfires in the Upper Murray and North East Victoria

Page URL: https://www.wodonga.vic.gov.au/Services/Safety-Health-and-Wellbeing/Emergency-management/Bushfires-in-the-Upper-Murray-and-North-East-Victoria

Bushfires in the Upper Murray and North East Victoria

 /  ServicesSafety, Health and WellbeingEmergency managementBushfires in the Upper Murray and North East Victoria

Our thoughts are with our neighbours to the east as they battle an unprecedented fire situation.

While Wodonga has not been affected by active fires, our community has mobilised to assist wherever they can. 

We want to start by thanking businesses, residents and the wider community for the outpouring of generosity that started so promptly after this incident began. Our businesses and community donated time and goods, meals and services and we received dozens of offers of support and people wanting to volunteer. 

It is these difficult and trying times that show the true community spirit of Wodonga and we should all be proud of how we have come together. 

Through our relief centre, we’ve been working with the Red Cross, Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to support the people who have been coming from the fire-affected areas. We want to thank them for their co-operation and support in dealing with a very difficult situation. 

We know that these fires are far from over and this will be an incident that will be affecting our community and our nearest neighbours for some weeks to come. 

As such, we expect there will be times in these weeks that further assistance will be required and your generosity may be called upon again. 


Wodonga Council supports the government in encouraging people and organisations to NOT donate goods.

Relief centres are overwhelmed by donations, diverting resources away from critical tasks. The best way people can help impacted communities is through financial donations.

The Victorian Government has launched a new fund in partnership with the Bendigo Bank Community Enterprise Foundation and the Salvation Army, dedicated to helping Victorians affected by the recent bushfires.

Donations to the new fund will be held in a dedicated account overseen by Pat McNamara, former Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

Donations can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or online via vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal 

Council support

Wodonga Council has been supporting our neighbours in Towong and Alpine shires with a range of resources and operations.

In response to the direction of the Incident Control Centre, a relief centre was set up at The Cube Wodonga, which helped more than 600 evacuees.

There are no overnight relief centres operating but information is available at Towong Shire offices from 9am - 4.30pm.

  • Corryong 76 Hanson Street Corryong Ph. 02 6076 2160
  • Tallangatta 32 Towong Street Tallangatta Ph. 02 6071 5100
  • Email. info@towong.vic.gov.au

Air quality

When the air quality is at hazardous levels due to the bushfires, it is recommended everyone minimise the time spent in smoky conditions when practical to do so.

To reduce the impact of smoke, residents are advised to stay indoors, minimise outdoor physical activity and follow any treatment plans.

If you are over 65, pregnant, a child under 14 or have heart and lung conditions, you should consider temporarily relocating outside the smoke-affected area until there is sustained improvement in air quality.

If this is not possible and there is no direct threat from bushfires, stay indoors and keep activity levels as low as possible.

If you experience wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing, phone 000.

If you are concerned about your heath, seek medical advice or call Nurse-on-call on 1300 606 024.

Face masks are available the council offices until stocks run out.

P2 masks are available from relief centres, pharmacies, health services and major GP clinics.

For more information on smoke and your health see https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/environmental-information/air-quality/smoke/smoke-your-health

For more information about the air quality, visit epa.vic.gov.au/EPAAirWatch.

Dealing with extreme heat

During extreme heat, make sure to:

  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Always take a bottle with you;
  • Never leave kids, adults or pets in cars;
  • Plan ahead;
  • Schedule activities in the coolest part of the day;
  • Keep cool;
  • Seek out air-conditioned buildings;
  • Check-in on others; and,
  • Look after those most at risk in the heat.
Financial assistance and fundraising scams

Consumer Affairs Victoria has reported fake fundraisers are doorknocking in some communities, requesting donations for bushfire relief.

More information on fundraising scams and disaster advice is available online at consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/fundraising-scams

Free financial advice on insurance, banking and financial hardship in a disaster is also available via Consumer Affairs at consumer.vic.gov.au/resources-and-tools/advice-in-a-disaster/insurance-banking-and-financial-hardship

Emergency financial assistance is available to eligible fire-affected community members in Alpine, Indigo, Towong, Wangaratta and Wodonga council areas. 

Affected households can apply for all of these payments. Applying for one payment does not preclude households from applying for the others.

Emergency Relief Assistance Payments are being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Anyone who has been affected by the bushfires and is suffering personal hardship and distress should visit an Emergency Relief Centre or call the Payment Assistance Helpline on 1800 961 054 for advice and support.

Information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at disasterassist.gov.au the Department of Health and Human Services website at https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/financial-crisis-support and the VicEmergency website at emergency.vic.gov.au/relief.

Free birth certificate replacement
Births, Deaths and Marriages Victoria has advised Victorian birth certificates destroyed by bushfire will be replaced for free. For assistance, phone 1300 369 367.
VicRoads assistance

Vic Roads can help with the following services.

  • Replacement licences expressed posted to a nominated location at no cost
  • Cancelling of registrations with the ability to EFT the refund
  • Replacement learner log books.

Find more information on Bushfire Relief Assistance at https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/licences/renew-replace-or-update/bushfire-relief-assistance

Fines Victoria

Fines Victoria will provide assistance with managing unpaid fines to anyone who has been affected by the bushfires.

Contact Fines Victoria to discuss your options and the support available.

Agricultural support

To arrange a visit from Agriculture Victoria, farmers should contact Vic Emergency on 1800 226 226.

Farmers needing fodder should contact the Victorian Farmers Federation on 1300 882 833.

Affected farmers can access immediate financial support through both the Victorian Emergency Relief Assistance Payment via the Vic Emergency hotline and the Commonwealth Government’s Disaster Recovery Program Payment on 1800 226 226

Health, wellbeing and support services

Looking after ourselves, family, friends and neighbours is important.

There are free mental health, counselling and support services available to support people during this time and ongoing.

A list of support and emergency services is available below.

Staying informed
  • Bureau of Meteorology's online weather warnings
  • emergency.vic.gov.au
  • VicEmergency Hotline - freecall 1800 226 226.
  • VicEmergency app
  • Facebook or Twitter #vicfires
  • Local radio: ABC Radio is the National Emergency Broadcaster - make sure you have a battery-operated radio available with a supply of batteries, to stay informed should power be cut.
    You can listen to ABC Radio on the following stations:
    • Albury- Wodonga and Wangaratta 106.5FM
    • Bright 89.7FM
    • Corryong 99.7FM
    • Myrtleford 91.7FM

The Incident Control Centre organises community meetings in affected areas. Local councils endeavour to livestream them and they are a great way of getting the correct information. 

The fire situation has been changing rapidly and this is expected to continue for some time. 

With an increasing fire risk later in the week, we again urge you to ensure you have your bushfire survival plan in place and that you have downloaded the VicEmergency app. 

Please stay safe, take care of each other and monitor the situation for changed conditions. 

- Wodonga Mayor Cr Anna Speedie  and Wodonga Council Chief Executive Officer Mark Dixon