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11/02/2009

Winetitles' Victoria-based publisher speaks of ongoing concern for those affected by fires

With offices in some of the areas touched by Victoria's bushfire, publisher Hartley Higgins of the Provincial Press Group, incorporating Winetitles, reports from Melbourne today that the major ongoing concern for locals in the fire affected areas is the wind strength and direction.

Yesterday, an associated Provincial Press Group publication Mountain Views Mail, took the precaution of moving Healesville office staff to the neighbouring Monbulk office after fire threatened the town.

With reports this morning that the immediate danger had subsided, it was planned for staff to return.

In Melbourne, staff at Southern Farmer told of stories of lucky escapes as they defended their homes and livestock as fires burnt around them.

"All our staff are safe and we are supporting our journalists to provide our communities with accurate information about what's really happening," Hartley said.

“There were also stories of friends having lost loved ones and local businesses, many of whom are our advertisers, losing assets and premises, which bought the reality of this disaster home to me,” Hartley said.

“Mail Newspaper Group staff did a great job over the weekend covering the fires and this week produced an eight-page wrap covering the weekend losses in the Yarra Valley and surrounds,” Hartley said.

“We used aircraft to try to get aerial shots of the Yarra Valley, Marysville and Narbethong regions but the smoke was too dense."

“In the upper north-east we got a plane up yesterday over Mudgegonga, Beechworth and sub-alpine areas and these photos will be published in Wangaratta Chronicle, and Ovens and Murray Advertiser today.”

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