Rural Victoria bushfire near Ballarat still rages, 500 firefighters working on fire

A dire warning has been issued for residents in a rural Victorian town to leave “immediately” as hundreds of firefighters continue to battle a massive blaze which had burned for three days, consuming homes across hundreds of hectares of land.

Residents of Bayindeen, Chire, Elmhurst, Mount Lonarch and surrounding areas near Ballarat have been told to evacuate immediately, as the bushfire remains out of control.

VicEmergency reports the fire is heading northward, currently south of Elmhurst in a nearby forest along with fire activity in the Mount Lonarch area.

“Leaving immediately is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous,” they said. “Emergency services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.”

Residents of Main Lead, Middle Creek, Raglan and Waterloo have been warned that it is not safe to return if residents have left because of the fire.

36 other areas nearby have been warned to stay alert because of the conditions.

The fire was being fought by emergency services through Thursday and Friday, with over a thousand firefighters helping to contain the flames on Friday.

Chief Fire Officer of Forest Fire Management Chris Hardman told Weekend Today that “more than 500 firefighters” will be tackling the large fire over Saturday. said hundreds of firefighters would be working hard today to try and stop the spread of the flames.

“What people really do need to know this is a big fire,” he said. “We are very hopeful with more benign weather conditions today, that we will see some significant improvement”.

Officials are hoping to have the fire contained within the next several days.

Victoria premier Jacinta Allen told press the fire had affected more 14,000 hectares, and that 5000 properties did not have power on Friday morning because of the emergency.

Three homes were confirmed to be lost on Saturday morning.

“It is going to take some time to assess the full extent of the damage,” Ms Allen said.

Country Fire Authority chief officer Jason Heffernan said that while it was unsafe to go to the point of origin earlier, investigators are now inspecting the area for information on the cause of the fire.

Check the VicEmergency website for information on your area and relief centres you can find nearby in the event of a bushfire.

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