Homes lost in Victoria bushfire

The number of homes lost to a large bushfire in western Victoria has risen to three as firefighters try to stop it spreading.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) on Saturday confirmed the blaze west of Ballarat, which spans more than 15 hectares, has also claimed sheds and other outbuildings.

The CFA said the fire is moving in a northerly direction towards Elmhurst and Amphitheatre. These suburbs are about 70km northwest of Ballarat.

The forecast top temperature for Elmhurst on Saturday is 28C.

People from surrounding areas were earlier in the week asked to leave their homes immediately. They have been asked not to return until the CFA says it is safe to do so.

These suburbs include Avoca, Bayindeen, Chute, Elmhurst, Mount Lonarch and surrounds, Main Lead, Raglan, Middle Creek, Waterloo, Glenlofty, Glenpatrick, Glenshee, Green Hill Creek, Nowhere Creek, Amphitheatre, Crowlands, Eversley, Landsborough, Percydale and Warrenmang.

About 500 firefighters are expected to attend the blaze on Saturday, along with water bombing aircraft.

Assessment teams are surveying damage but can only do so once areas become safe to enter.

Road closures are in place to prevent motorists straying into the fireground. These include the Pyrenees Highway, Beaufort-Lexton Rd, Lexton-Ararat Rd and Main Lead Rd.

Conditions are expected to ease from Saturday until Monday but warm up again on Tuesday.

Wednesday has been described as a potential "spike" day as the mercury is set to again soar above 40C.

Six schools were closed or relocated on Friday and 1365 power customers were left without electricity.

Almost 60 hospital patients and residents of aged care homes near the fire have been transferred to other facilities.

Evacuees have been directed towards relief centres at Ararat, Maryborough, and Wendouree in Ballarat.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.