Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) has released a report on its technical investigation into a fire at Terang in Victoria’s south-west on 17 March. High winds through Victoria’s south-west over 17 and 18 March led to five fire starts involving electricity distribution infrastructure assets. This resulted in four significant fires, collectively known as the St Patricks’ Day Fires. In addition to the Terang fire, major fires also included Sisters fire (near Garvoc), the Gazette bushfire and the Gnotuk grassfire. The Terang fire began about 9:30pm on 17 March. Conductors clashed between phases of a 22kV feeder outside the Terang Zone Sub in High Street (Princes Hwy). Molten material fell to the ground and resulted in a large fire. According to the ESV investigation, the construction of the lines was not consistent with standards and did not allow sufficient clearance between electrical circuits during the wind event of that day. ESV will now proceed with its investigation into the Terang Fire to determine the nature and extent of any breaches to the Acts and regulations and possible enforcement action. Investigations into the Sisters’ Fire, which involved the failure of a power pole, is still in progress. It involves complex forensic analysis and investigation and may take two or three months to complete. Once this is complete ESV will determine the nature and extent of any breaches to the Acts and regulations and possible enforcement action. With respect to the fires at Gazette and Gnotuk, ESV has determined they were caused by vegetation falling onto powerlines from outside the statutory clearance zone. ESV will be preparing technical investigation reports on these vegetation related incidents to confirm the cause and contributing factors. To read the full report, click .
Reviewed 18 January 2023