Firefighters are battling an out-of-control blaze near Ballarat in Victoria’s west that is threatening homes and lives.
An emergency warning has been issued for Finns Road, Platts Road and Scotts Lane in Buninyong and Scotsburn.
The blaze crossed Scotts Lane shortly before 4pm and is travelling in a southerly direction from Brennans Road towards Pryors Road.
“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive,” the warning said.
“The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately.
“It is too late to leave, leaving now would be deadly.”
Firefighters have deployed waterbombing aircraft to fight the fire and have been able to slow the spread of the blaze, but the warning to shelter indoors immediately remains current.
People who cannot get indoors are being urged to take shelter in large open areas.
Nearby residents have been sent a mobile alert advising them of the blaze.
Meanwhile, a Watch and Act alert has been issued for parts of Durham Lead, Grenville and Scotsburn, which is south of the main bushfire.
A relief centre has been set up at the Buninyong Recreation Reserve.
Doug Maclean is building a home in the area and started seeing smoke from about 2.30pm.
He described it as “really black, thick smoke” which briefly turned white.
“We’ve seen seven or eight CFA [trucks] and then the police started to come as well, and then the helicopters,” he said.
The CFA has deployed a water bomber to help fight the fire. Photo: ABC NewsMr Maclean said he was not worried about losing his future home to the blaze.
“We live down near Warrnambool, we’re building here to move to Buninyong,” he said.
“And the great thing is the helicopter’s based in Ballarat and the number of fire crews here, I actually feel more secure,” he said.
“There’s a lot of people and volunteers that are here to help protect the community.”
Cheryl Vawdrey-Smith, who lives on Mount Buninyong, said she could see the blaze from her home.
“I can see brown smoke, thick sort of white smoke and it’s not going anywhere much because there’s no wind here at the moment,” she said.
“It looks like it’s burning in the forest, very much like the Scotsburn fires some time ago.”
But Ms Vawdrey-Smith said she was not worried about the blaze just yet.
“We’re not sort of too concerned at the moment because there’s no wind driving it towards us,” she said.
“We’re pretty sure they’ll get that under control.”
This WATCH & ACT message is being issued for Durham Lead, Grenville, Scotsburn.
This bushfire is in the vicinity of Scott's Lane and Nash's Road, Scotsburn and is not yet under control.https://t.co/sV6OCin2OC pic.twitter.com/iXGlcXdEXt
— VicEmergency (@vicemergency) December 6, 2018