An unknown number of homes have been lost in a bushfire burning through communities near Ballarat in central Victoria.
Emergency Management Victoria said the fire at Scotsburn, Clarendon, Durham Lead, Garibaldi and Elaine had destroyed buildings.
“Homes have been lost, but we can’t confirm details yet,” a spokesman told AAP on Saturday.
The emergency warnings for the Scotsburn and Elaine areas have been downgraded to watch-and-act messages.
The fire is about 3000 hectares in size and is travelling in a easterly direction towards Mt Doran.
The CFA expects another wind change by 8.30pm, which will send the fire southeasterly towards Cargerie.
Residents have been told leaving now is their safest option.
Fires burning elsewhere in Victoria have been largely contained but firefighters warn the danger isn’t over yet.
A band of lightning moving across the state could bring more fires as temperatures hit 40C and winds gust above 100km/h.
More than 300 fires have been reported, along with 100 calls for help over wind blowing down trees, but damage has been minimal.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley warned residents to watch out for lightning strikes and report if they see smoke after 15 minutes.
“There’s no significant rain at all and we are concerned about the amount of lightning that will move through,” he said.
A fire burning out of control near Wonthaggi in Victoria’s south has been brought under control after firefighters stopped the spread of the grassfire at Tank Hill, near Longwell Crt.
Firefighters are also containing a Wandin North grassfire, which isn’t yet under control, but is no longer an immediate threat.
Police arrested a man after a large suspicious grass fire in Epping on Melbourne’s outskirts.
The 34-year-old man, of no fixed address, was arrested in Vearings Road about 12.50pm.
The fire took place in grassland along the Hume Freeway and Cooper Street about 10.15am.
Ambulance Victoria operations manager Paul Holman said people needed to check on their relatives and friends in the heat.
“We’ve already done up to a dozen cardiac arrests today unfortunately,” he told reporters.
A cold front is predicted to move across Victoria from the west on Sunday, when a total fire ban has again been declared for the state.
Severe wind warnings and extreme fire danger ratings have been issued for large parts of the state, while Melbourne is expected to have a minimum overnight temperature of 29C.