• A firefighting helicopter tackles a bushfire near Bairnsdale in Victoria's East Gippsland region. (AAP)Source: AAP
The push to get people out of isolated towns in Victoria's fire-ravaged east has started as more than 760,000 hectares burns.
Source:
AAP
2 Jan 2020 - 9:40 AM  UPDATED 2 Jan 2020 - 9:40 AM

The effort to rescue thousands of people stuck in isolated towns in Victoria's fire-ravaged east has started.

The military arrived in East Gippsland on Wednesday and Black Hawk helicopters are helping to get evacuees off of the Mallacoota beach.

"Our focus today is we've got 4000 people in and around the beach there at Mallacoota and we're working with the (Australian Defence Force) and all the authorities, Victoria Police, SES, all the agencies are working together and our primary effort is to get those people out of Mallacoota," CFA chief officer Steve Warrington told ABC News.

Police shipped in supplies to the holiday town near the NSW border on New Years Day.

The deadly fires have burnt through more than 766,000 hectares across Victoria.

There are 47 fires currently going statewide, but most of the fires and burnt land are in East Gippsland.

Another fire straddling the NSW-Victoria border at Corryong is also threatening lives.

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Life lost

On Wednesday, it was revealed Victoria's fires had claimed the life of Buchan resident Mick Roberts.

Mr Roberts had not made contact with family for more than 24 hours and on Wednesday his niece Leah Parson confirmed he had been found dead at his home.

"His body has been found in his house ... very sad day for us to srart (sic) the year but we're a bloody tight family and we will never forget our mate and my beautiful Uncle Mick," Ms Parsons wrote on the East Gippsland fire season 2019-2020 Facebook page.

Premier Daniel Andrews lamented reports of Mr Roberts' death.

"It is of course the worst of all news, the notion that someone has lost their life," he told ABC Gippsland.

Firefighters will be helped on Thursday by moderate conditions, with temperatures in East Gippsland in the low to mid 20s expected to be paired with fairly light winds of up to 20 km/h.

As of 8.30am on Thursday, all of the fires remained at a watch and act level.

The mercury is forecast to creep up in the region on Friday, before reaching the 40s on Saturday, when the heat, hot winds and chance of some thunderstorms are expected to increase the risk of new fires.

So far, confirmed property losses are 24 structures at Buchan, 19 at Sarsfield, 10 at Mallacoota and up to 15 at Cudgewa.

About 24 remote communities have lost power and phone coverage.

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-AAP