• Country Fire Authority has asked people to stay vigilant as dry conditions remain across Victoria. (AAP)Source: AAP
An evacuation centre has been set up by Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative as bushfires tear through Victoria's eastern corner.
By
Madeline Hayman-Reber

Source:
NITV News
30 Dec 2019 - 4:26 PM  UPDATED 30 Dec 2019 - 4:26 PM

Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative has opened its doors to the community as surrounding townships have been ordered to evacuate.

As of Monday afternoon, at least seven evacuation notices had been issued for the region, with the Country Fire Authority advising conditions were expected to worsen and "continue well into the night".

CEO Jamie Williamson told NITV News that the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-Operative, which is located in Bairnsdale, was in addition to others open in the region.

"What we’re trying to do is provide another safe refuge. As we’re a primary healthcare provider, we’ve got some medical assistance there available for the elders or those who may need it," Mr Williamson said.

"Also being a social services provider, we’re tapping into some of our resources and networks to ensure that people, when they are leaving their place of residence, that they have somewhere to go to."

Despite offering medical assistance, as of Monday afternoon Mr Williamson said they thankfully did not yet have to give any.

"Just pay attention to the conditions, the weather conditions and the fire conditions, and if you're thinking about getting out or erring about whether you should get out, then I recommend that you get out," Mr Williamson said.

Those seeking refuge from the fires can find the centre at 37-53 Dalmahoy St, Bairnsdale.

Festival cancelled

The extreme weather conditions also led to the cancellation of the annual Falls Festival due to be held in Lorne, in the south-western region of the state.

Artists scheduled to perform there included Baker Boy and Thelma Plum. Organisers have requested disappointed festival-goers evacuate the area.

“We are gutted to make this call but the safety of our patrons, artists and staff is our main priority," Secret Sounds Co CEO Jessica Ducrou said.

Despite the cancellation, several artists who were set to perform, including Baker Boy, have organised side gigs in Meobourne and elsewhere in an effort to raise funds to support firefighters.

"Firefighters are so incredible and risk their lives to help save our land, our homes and keep people safe. I’m not trained to get out there and help physically but I can give back and help in other ways," Mr Baker told NITV News.

"I believe that’s part of what I do, being Baker Boy gives me the space to do good things that I couldn’t do on a large scale without my platform. It’s my duty to a certain degree."

Baker Boy will perform alongside Nerve and Dallas Woods, with the almost sold out, 18+ event kicking off at 8pm at Howler in Brunswick.

Beyond the Valley festival has been also halted, but not yet cancelled, due to extreme weather conditions.

Catastrophic conditions 

In South Australia, firefighters are facing catastrophic conditions in the Adelaide Hills, through the mid-north and across to Yorke Peninsula.

Adelaide is forecast to reach 40C and firefighters are particularly worried about the potential for breakouts in the blaze burning in the Adelaide Hills. There are also concerns for a fire on Kangaroo Island which continues to smoulder.

A cool change in the afternoon is causing the most concern, with strong and shifting winds set to heighten the risk of bushfires spreading.

In NSW, more than 900 homes have been destroyed but that number is expected to increase with rising temperatures and dry winds forecast to peak on New Year's Eve.

Temperatures are forecast to climb past 40C in western Sydney and parts of regional NSW by Tuesday, as air pollution in the city's southwest remains at a hazardous level.

A watch and act alert is in place for two fires in remote parts of Western Australia, at the Stirling Range National Park and Higginsville mine site in the state's south.

In Tasmania, residents are urged to remain on high alert as scorching temperatures combined with forecast thunderstorms and winds increase fire risk.

With AAP