Homes lost as bushfire rages in western Victoria

Nearly 1000 firefighters are battling a bushfire in western Victoria which has reportedly destroyed homes, cut a major highway and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents.

 A bushfire near the town of Bayindeen in western Victoria. Photo: AAP

A bushfire near the town of Bayindeen in western Victoria. Photo: AAP

Homes have been reported lost as reinforcements start arriving to bolster firefighters battling the blaze burning the large bushfire threatening Beaufort, Bayindeen, Raglan and other towns.

Thousands of residents from almost 30 communities near Ballarat have been told to “leave now,” with emergency warnings and watch-and-act alerts issued.

About 1000 firefighters have been battling the blaze including those operating 15 water bombing aircraft.

Victorian Country Fire Authority chief officer Jason Heffernan said it was hoped fire conditions would abate overnight but they hadn’t, with the fire progressing north towards Elmhurst.

“We are getting early reports unfortunately of some home losses, as well as multiple sheds,” he said early on Friday, with livestock losses also expected.

Elmhurst residents had been told to evacuate and firefighters were taking position to protect the township, with brisk winds from the south expected to fan the fire, Heffernan said.

“I expect fire conditions will remain reasonably volatile today,” he said.

Firefighters hoped conditions would abate overnight but they did not, with the blaze moving northeasterly towards Avoca on Friday morning.

The fire had burned through more than 11,000 hectares and spotfires from embers were starting ahead of its main front, a State Control Centre spokeswoman said.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

More than 25,000 homes were sent emergency alerts through voice or text messages on Thursday, and around 5500 more went out on Friday morning.

Advice messages for Avoca, Glenbrae and surrounds were in place on Friday but the spokeswoman said leaving immediately was the safest option for locals.

“If people are located within these (warning) areas we’re asking them to leave now to protect their life,” she said.

“We are hearing of property losses but we’ll know more later in the day.”

Livestock were also expected to be lost in the blaze.

The bushfire forced the closure of the Great Western Highway between the major towns of Ballarat and Ararat, in addition to a train line and bus routes in the area.

Skipton Road between Skipton and Beaufort was also closed as of Friday morning, as was Beaufort-Lexton Road.

The emergency comes a week after a bushfire destroyed 44 homes in the western Victorian town of Pomonal.


Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.