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Hazelwood coal mine fire declared safe

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The Hazelwood coal mine fire has been declared safe, with its management returned to the mine’s operator GDF Suez.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the decision means the fire is no longer considered a threat to people or communities.

“The community may still see a few puffs of smoke as the mine operators continue to work on extinguishing small hot spots, but CFA will continue to support GDF Suez with management support and advice and the local CFA will be liaising closely with the mine owners, and be on hand to help if needed,” he said.

More than 7000 firefighters have been involved in battling the blaze since it started 45 days ago.

The fire is believed to have been deliberately lit, with police calling on anyone with information to come forward.

Heavy smoke from the fire has been a major concern for the community of Morwell, as air quality hit dangerously low levels.

The Victorian government has come under fire for not evacuating the town in the early stages of the blaze.

An inquiry will now be held into the processes followed after the fire.

To see a collection of images of the blaze and the firefighters attempt to extinguish it, click here.

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