A fast-moving fire has ripped through parklands and scorched graves in Melbourne’s south.
Residents in about 40 homes were forced to evacuate after the fire broke out at Cheltenham Park on Wednesday afternoon and spread quickly.
Melbourne Fire Brigade downgraded the warning and said the blaze was under control shortly before 5pm.
Those who’ve already evacuated Glebe Avenue are being advised to stay away until the all clear is given. Those who had not evacuated are being told to remain in place.
MFB advised that those two or more streets away from the grassfire should shelter indoors, and close all windows, doors and vents.
The fire reached the back fences of properties before it was contained by nearly 100 firefighters and four water-bombing helicopters.
“Firefighters have worked extremely hard to contain this fire,” MFB spokesman Brendan Angwin told reporters.
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“It burned up to the back of the school. It damaged some fences. But firefighters, with the support of aerial helicopters, have done an extremely good job to get this fire in check.”
Earlier, residents in about 40 homes were told to evacuate with three days’ worth of clothing, as well as pets, medicine, important documents, mementos and photographs.
“If your home is surrounded by grasslands, and you are not in an estate, you should immediately shelter within your home. It is not safe for you to leave.”
The mercury hit 34 degrees in Cheltenham on Wednesday, according to Weatherzone.
The fire started about 2.15pm and was travelling in a southerly direction, MFB said.
The park is next to the Victoria Golf Club and the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. A large tree appeared to have caught fire in the nearby Cheltenham Pioneer Cemetery and spot fires had broken out.
Helicopter footage showed flames burning in the tops of the trees.