Foil, fly by and snow guns – Australia’s alpine prepare for fire threat

Retardant dropped on Mt Perisher as a precautionary measure. Image provided by Corroboree Lodge and credited to Eiger Chalet

As we enter yet another week of extreme bushfire risk in Australia, the nation’s alpine regions are doing what they can to protect both the deep heritage of the Snowy Mountains and ski resort infrastructures.

The devastating loss of Selwyn Snow Resort last week also saw the decimation of historical backcountry huts vital to the heritage of Australia.

Now it’s all hands on deck to protect more huts and ski resorts. 

Wrapping up

Kiandra in New South Wales is the birthplace of skiing in our country and the Kiandra huts including Wolgal and Pattison’s alongside the Kiandra Courthouse have already been burned to the ground. Add the loss of Delany’s Hut, Happy Jacks hut, Brooks, Round Mountain huts and more.

There are 200 heritage listed huts in Victoria’s high country and fears they too will be burned or damaged. The Falls Creek Fire Brigade spent time last week wrapping Wallace’s Hut and Cope Hut in foil known as FireStop or FireZat.

The team at New South Wales Parks and Wildlife spent time on Wednesday this week doing the same with Valentine’s Hut.

Snow guns and water bombs

Meanwhile Hotham are utilising their snow guns to protect infrastructure during today’s bushfire threat. Victoria’s state of disaster was extended by the premier, Dan Andrews, for a further 48 hours in the alpine regions as temperatures and winds rise today.

They’re not alone, Perisher Resort has been pumping their snow guns madly since last week in the face of the fires burning in the Kosciuszko park areas.

In Thredbo water bombers have been utilising the snow making pond to drop water from chinook helicopters where it’s most needed to protect the resort.

Water bombing utilising the Thredbo snow making pond.

Fly by retardant

And the big guns have come into Perisher with planes dropping fire retardant across the resort to protect infrastructure and chairlifts.

For all fire updates and evacuation status visit the RFS site and Emergency Victoria as well as the CFA. 

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.