A helicopter dumps water on a bushfire burning in the
Grampians bushland in Victoria. REUTERS/Country Fire
A monstrous Victorian bushfire that has killed a woman
and is creating its own weather continues to menace towns in a
popular tourist region.
The Grampians blaze has burnt through 41,000 hectares and is
the chief concern for firefighters as a blustery wind change
played havoc with fire conditions.
Several hundred firefighters worked across Friday night and
Saturday morning to protect Halls Gap and the surrounding
areas of Ledcourt, Dadswells Bridge and Grampians Junction
from the bushfire.
The fire has already claimed the life of a woman, who was
found dead at her Roses Gap property on Friday morning, while
at least two homes have been destroyed at Wartook.
A spokeswoman from the State Control Centre said conditions
were incredibly difficult for the 621 firefighters in the
"The fire has caused a convection column which is creating
its own weather - so lightning strikes and very erratic
winds," she told AAP.
"The surrounding winds have also changed, so it's quite
Tourists and residents fled Halls Gap and the northern
Grampians on Friday after an evacuation notice was issued.
In the state's eastern corner, residents of Club Terrace,
near Orbost, anxiously awaited the progress of a bushfire
burning to the town's north.
Authorities say a series of 25 fires sparked by lightning in
east Gippsland were merging to create a single, massive
bushfire which could grow to half a million hectares in size.
Fires have burnt through more than 40,000 hectares in the
Mallee region and are expected to continue through the
While most of the state was cooled by the southwesterly
change, conditions in the state's northeast will still be
extremely hot on Saturday, with the temperature forecast to
reach 40C at Wangaratta and 42C at Wodonga.
A total fire ban has been declared for the Mallee, Wimmera,
Northern Country, North East, East Gippsland and West and
South Gippsland fire districts on Saturday.