The complexity of the Hazelwood mine fire

The complex of fires that began on 9 February 2014, known as the Hazelwood mine fire, was the latest in a series of mine fires in the Latrobe Valley and is by far the biggest and longest. The fire was long-lasting and impacted significantly on the Latrobe Valley community. The mine fire had minimal impact on the ability of the power station to continue to generate and supply power to the national electricity grid.

In considering the circumstances surrounding the Hazelwood mine fire, the Board has reviewed whether the fire in the mine originated from an external source to the mine or from a source within the mine’s perimeter.

There were three major fires that were in the immediate surrounds of the Hazelwood mine on and leading up to 9 February 2014, when the mine fire took hold. Those fires were named as the:

  • Hernes Oak–McDonald’s Track fire, which ignited on 7 February 2014
  • Hernes Oak fire, which broke out from the Hernes Oak–McDonald’s Track fire on 9 February 2014
  • Driffield–Strzelecki Highway fire which ignited on 9 February 2014.

Each of these fires and their impact on the Hazelwood mine is discussed in turn.