Emergency Alert In Place In Victoria's East As Bushfires Rage

Fires continue


4 March 2019

Article heading image for Emergency Alert In Place In Victoria's East As Bushfires Rage

A new emergency alert has been issued for a bushfire in Victoria's Gippsland region, as the threat level is eased for other blazes across the state.

People in the towns of Black Snake Creek, Cowa, Dargo, Hawkhurst, Miowera and Peter the Swede were told on Monday it was too late to leave and they must take shelter.

Elsewhere, cooler temperatures and an weaker-than-expected wind change has helped firefighters in their battle against destructive blazes across Victoria's east.

A fire at Yinnar South in the Latrobe Vallery was downgraded late on Monday morning, but residents are being told not to be complacent.

"A 'watch and act' (advisory) is still an active fire," Emergency Management Victoria commissioner Andrew Crisp told ABC radio.

Nine structures - including at least two houses - have been destroyed in the fires that have raged all weekend. Two of the properties were in the Yinnar South/Budgeree fire zone and seven are in the Bunyip State Park fire.

At Yinnar South the fire increased to 1800 hectares overnight, power to the fire-affected area has been cut and emergency services say there is significant fire spotting.

Overnight, the emergency warning for the Bunyip fire, about 65km east of Melbourne, was downgraded.

The fire was sparked by lightning strikes on Friday and has destroyed more than 10,000 hectares.

That fire grew by about 1500 hectares overnight and spot fires eased with a weaker cool change.

Fire crews - including about 600 firefighters - plan to spend the day assessing damaged properties and letting some residents return to check their homes.

Alerts also remain in place for areas further northeast, including at Licola.

More than 2000 firefighters are working to contain blazes across the state.

Three relief centres are open for the Bunyip fire, and centres are also open for the Yinnar and Dargo fires.

The fires have sparked widespread school, TAFE and childcare centre closures and bus service cancellations.

Despite the cooler morning, firefighters will have to contend with more lightning, which could spark more fires

"There's still some instability across a lot of northern and eastern Victoria," the Bureau of Meteorology's Michael Efron said.

"This morning we have observed lightning up in the Mallee and there is a potential for further storms extending into northwestern Victoria as well as the Gippsland high country."

On Tuesday a cold front starting in the state's southwest is likely to reach Melbourne later in the day with the strong winds and possible showers moving across the state into Wednesday.

The front could even bring snow flurries to alpine areas.

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