News State Victoria News Victorian fires downgraded

Victorian fires downgraded

An aerial shot of the Somerville fire.
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Emergency warnings for fires burning at Somerville on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and at Mount Bolton, north-west of Ballarat, have been downgraded.

A grass fire at Somerville had earlier been threatening residential areas along the Frankston Flinders Road near Raymond Street as it was fanned by high winds.

An advice message remains in place for the fire, which is burning north of the Somerville township.

The fire is still not under control.

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After the emergency warning was lifted Somerville resident Julie Idzes waited for news on when she could return home.

“It is worrying, your house is down there and you’re thinking ‘is it there?'” Ms Idzes said.

“You think it won’t happen in our area, it always happens somewhere else but this is right on our doorstep.”

Sean Kerr, a Country Fire Authority (CFA) operations officer in Somerville, said crews were able to hold the fire line when the wind change came through.

“No houses were damaged to our knowledge, just gardens and fence lines,” he said.

“I’m happy to say the danger has passed.”

Cassidy Breznjak, 18, said she was at a McDonald’s outlet near the fire when it started about 3pm.

She said the blaze started out quite small but spread quickly.

“It was only like a stream of smoke in the sky,” she said.

“We drove around to Baxter Primary School and we saw that the smoke had gotten quite long and the fire had spread a lot.”

Ms Breznjak said she was pretty scared and feared for people and livestock in the area.

“We saw many fire trucks and helicopters trying to put out the fire but it was still spreading rapidly,” she said.

“I saw four fire trucks on the way and two helicopters with the water going back and forth from the fire.”

It is one of two major fires that have started on a hot and windy day in Victoria with temperatures hovering in the high 30s and low 40s.

A total of 115 fires have been reported so far. Fifteen of them were grass and scrub fires.

Mount Bolton fire fanned by high winds

The emergency warning for the Mount Bolton and Addington fire was downgraded at about 5:30pm.

The fire is no longer threatening the communities of Mt Bolton, Addington and Learmonth.

The fire is now moving in an easterly direction towards the communities of Glendaruel and Coghills Creek which are under a watch and act warning.

The fire has burned 1,300 hectares, destroyed two farm sheds, fencing and there are fears some stock may have been lost.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the fire was proving difficult to get under control after a wind change went through the area, changing the direction of the blaze.

The area is mainly rural farmland, but Mr Lapsley said there were some farm houses and sheds in the area that may be under threat.

The CFA said it was too late to leave. The safest option is to shelter indoors immediately.

A watch and act is in place for the nearby communities of Learmonth, Coghills Creek and Glendaruel.

Warm weather set to continue

The hot weather is expected to continue through the evening with temperatures hovering at about 30C until midnight.

Total fire bans will remain in place on Wednesday in the Mallee, Northern Country, North Central and North East, covering areas from Mildura to Corryong and south to Castlemaine.

Temperatures are expected to stay around the 40C mark tomorrow along the Murray River.

Mr Lapsley said the causes of the 15 grass fires would be investigated in the coming days saying with no lightning, the fires might have started by “human factors” such as a vehicle, or by “human hand”.

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