Power station operating at reduced capacity, fire continues at Hazelwood coal mine

Fire fighters are working to control a blaze at Hazelwood coal mine as production at the site stopped overnight, affecting the 1600-megawatt Hazelwood Power Station.

Hazelwood owner GDF Suez Australian Energy told Australian Mining a 500m stretch of the mine is alight, but says the blaze is in an area some distance from its normal coal operations.

"The fire is in an old worked-out area of the mine which is a considerable distance from our current mining operations," the spokesman said.

CFA state duty officer Brett Boatman said fire fighters were facing difficult conditions at the mine.

"It is really challenging for fire fighters to go in there and combat it because it burns very intensely and quite deep within the coal and as they pull the coal apart and give more oxygen to the fire, it actually burns more intensely," he told ABC radio.

"That could go on for some time in the coal mine there."

Power to the mine has been cut since late yesterday, meaning there is no coal being supplied to the power station.

The spokesman said only two of power station’s eight units were running, with operations not expected to be restored until later today.

The facility supplies up to 25% of Victoria's electricity needs.

Meanwhile a grass fire burning near Yallourn has entered an unused area of the coal mine.

A spokeswoman for Energy Australia said the company remains on high alert.

"Our resources are focused on protecting the mine and assets from the fire," she said.

"There are no fires in any operating coal areas, however there is some fire activity in unused sections of the mine.

"We remain on high alert and are working to contain fire activity in the unused areas of the mine."

Victorian premier Denis Napthine urged people to stay alert as more than 25 fires continue to burn throughout the state.

"My message to all Victorians is to remain alert," Napthine said.

"Keep in touch, keep informed."

For the latest information including warnings, restrictions and road closures, visit: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/

Image: AAP

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