44 homes lost in bushfire-ravaged Victorian town

The number of homes destroyed by bushfires in Victoria’s west has jumped as residents return to assess the damage.

Feb 16, 2024, updated Feb 16, 2024
Dozens of homes have been destroyed by bushfire in the western Victorian town of Pomonal. Photo: Justin McManus/AAP

Dozens of homes have been destroyed by bushfire in the western Victorian town of Pomonal. Photo: Justin McManus/AAP

Premier Jacinta Allan confirmed 44 homes have been lost at Pomonal in the Grampians National Park, up from 24 reported on Thursday.

“That’s a bit higher than what has previously been reported,” she told on Friday.

“Pomonal is a little community so that is a significant proportion, perhaps as much as half of the town that has experienced loss.

“There is going to be a lot of rebuilding there.”

At least three businesses and 23 outbuildings have also been razed in the town.

One home was also lost at Dadswells Bridge, to the north of the national park, in a separate bushfire.

Pomonal and Dadswells Bridge residents in Victoria’s west began returning to their properties on Thursday afternoon to survey the damage, after fire threats were downgraded.

Grampians Tourism chief executive and community member Marc Sleeman said he was lucky his Pomonal home was still standing.

“It’s bittersweet when I know lots of friends and family have lost homes and lost businesses,” he said.

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“I know we’ve lost a few sheds and boats and things like that, but small things in comparison to what other people have lost.”

Residents of Pomonal have been advised local tap water is unsafe to drink even if boiled.

Emergency relief payments of $640 per adult and $320 per child with a maximum of $2240 for a family are  available for affected residents.

Payments of $49,000 are available to help eligible people who have lost their homes to rebuild.

People will be able to apply for the payments over the phone or in person at emergency relief centres in Ararat and Stawell.

At least two schools, the Pomonal and Halls Gap Primary Schools, were shuttered on Thursday due to fire impacts.

Almost all fires sparked in Victoria on Tuesday are believed to have been started by lightning strikes as severe storms lashed the state.


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