Victoria’s milder weather is keeping fires at bay and allowing exhausted crews a breather but another temperature spike looms.
Twelve fires are burning across the state on Wednesday, with more than 1.2 million hectares scorched to date.
All are at watch-and-act status or lower and mainly situated in the northeast and East Gippsland.
The temperature is due to hit 24 degrees in regional centre Bairnsdale on Wednesday before climbing to 27 on Thursday and nudging 40 on Friday.
Authorities warn the forecast spells more bad news.
“In terms of weather and fire conditions, again we talk about, now, benign conditions, the fire is suppressed. It is still there,” Emergency Management Commissioner for Victoria Andrew Crisp told reporters on Wednesday.
“It is still tinder dry in East Gippsland in the northeast of our state
“That’s not going to make a difference. It is holding there for the moment.”
There are two main fire complexes in East Gippsland and the northeast – Tambo and Snowy.
More than 270 community and emergency services personnel boarded HMAS Choules on Tuesday from the fire-ravaged Gippsland town of Mallacoota, the State Control Centre said.
They are expected to reach a naval base on the Mornington Peninsula on Wednesday after an almost 20-hour journey.
About 4000 people became isolated in the coastal community a week ago. The local medical centre has since been open around the clock with food and fuel supplies shipped in.
A low-level alert for the area near the NSW border cites reports that local residents have been cutting their way out of closed off areas.
“Residents must stop this immediately,” the warning reads.
“It is also not safe to drive on these roads until they have been treated for hazardous trees and other damage. There is also still active fire in some of these areas.”
There are 4900 kilometres of road including tree hazards to assess across the fire region.
Premier Daniel Andrews says the coming days are a “big challenge” as the weather changes.
“This is not over by a long shot. While the last couple of days have been benign, there will be messages that are all about your safety and your wellbeing,” he said on Tuesday.
A planned climate protest in Melbourne on Friday is expected to divert police officers and resources away from the fire ground, with protesters unwilling to call it off.
Authorities are also warning those wanting to give money to the bushfires appeal to use reputable organisations as scammers are door-knocking in Gippsland communities.