Australia

'It was like raining ash': Homes lost as bushfires rip through Victoria

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A fire has ripped through the areas devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires, leaving 12,500 hectares of land burnt and at least seven structures destroyed.

Residents of Gippsland in Victoria's south-east have been forced to flee their homes as multiple out-of-control bushfires threaten properties throughout the region. 

On Monday morning, the fire had burnt through 12,500 hectares and will continue to grow, according to the Forest Fire Management's Assistant Chief Chris Eagle.

He said at least seven structures, including homes, had been affected.

"It was like raining ash. And it sounded like rain on the roof, but it wasn't rain it was ash," Garfield resident Rhonda Simpson told SBS News after she had evacuated.

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A CFA volunteer captures footage of a blaze in a Gippsland state forest
A CFA volunteer captures footage of a blaze in a Gippsland state forest

"It was quite loud and very scary".

The Bunyip State Park fire, burning 65km east of Melbourne, was sparked by lightning strikes on Friday.

An emergency warning remains in place for residents of surrounding areas, including Budgeree, Budgeree East, Jeeralang, Jeeralang Junction, Jeeralang North, Jumbuk, Yinnar and Yinnar South. Mr Eagle told ABC News that it would still be a couple of days until the fire is under control. 

"Leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous," the warning reads.

"Every summer we wait and hope and think 'oh I hope it won't be us this time'," Maryknoll resident Kathy Paterson said.



"It was terrible, we just threw things in the car and left."

Firefighters worked through the night to control the blaze, after a wind change created challenging conditions. Cooler temperatures are expected for Monday, but dry lightning could also start more fires. 

"The risk of lightning redevelops in the late morning with the chance of some showers and thunderstorms," Bureau of Meteorology's senior forecaster Christie Johnson said.

Bushfires in Victoria.
Bushfires in Victoria.
Channel Nine

While there was a chance of showers, it was hard to pinpoint where they would hit, and there would only be a few millimetres of rainfall, she said.

"It will be cooler and more humid on Monday which will help with the firefighting efforts," she said.

However, Sunday night's wind change is raising worries the blaze would change direction.

"We are certainly concerned with the change that's going to come through ... we know that will mean the eastern flank of the fire will become the head of the fire," Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said on Sunday.

"The Bunyip fire is worse than one that burned in the same spot on Black Saturday," Country Fire Authority assistant chief officer Trevor Owen said.

Smouldering trees are seen in the Bunyip State Park, Victoria.
Smouldering trees are seen in the Bunyip State Park, Victoria.
AAP

"Whilst it damaged some property [in 2009] it was a very narrow finger compared to what we're facing with this fire, because this fire has been growing," Mr Owen told a community meeting in Pakenham.

More than 2000 firefighters are working to contain blazes around the state, he said.

Smoke is seen in a tree line from a property in Gembrook, Victoria.
Smoke is seen in a tree line from a property in Gembrook, Victoria.
AAP

The hot and windy conditions are expected to linger until Wednesday when rain is expected to help firefighters.

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