Firefighters have given chilling advice to residents as a fire rips through east Victoria – as authorities warn the bushfires are ‘worse’ than the Black Saturday bushfires almost a decade ago. Lightning sparked the fires in Bunyip State Park, about 65km east of Melbourne, on Friday night. Authorities initially thought the fires could be maintained, but then four separate blazes merged into one, burning out of control and resulting in evacuation orders for more than 20 suburbs.
Firefighters have given chilling advice to residents as a fire rips through east Victoria out-of-control. Officials warned the bushfires are ‘worse’ than the Black Saturday bushfires almost a decade ago that killed 173 people.
Lightning sparked the fires in Bunyip State Park, about 65km east of Melbourne, on Friday night.
Authorities initially thought the fires could be maintained, but then four separate blazes merged into one, burning out of control and resulting in evacuation orders for more than 20 suburbs.
At least five homes have been destroyed as the out-of-control blaze continues to threaten residents.
Vic Emergency issued a dire emergency warning at 7pm on Sunday for suburbs located between Bunyip and Tonimbuk, from the south to the north, and Tynong North to Labertouche, from the east to the west.
‘You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave. Leaving now would be deadly,‘ the warning said.
Earlier on Sunday, residents in Bunyip, Budgeree, Dargo and Licola were forced to flee their homes as the fire continued to close in.
Country Fire Authority Assistant Chief Officer Trevor Owen said the fire is more dangerous than 2009’s Black Saturday bushfires, which killed 173 people and also started from a lightning strike.
‘It’s not a matter of if or may for further property damages that we might see today, it’s a matter of we will,‘ he said.
‘Under those very strong conditions experienced on that day (in 2009), it travelled neatly, whilst it damaged some property it was a very narrow finger compared to what we’re facing with this fire, because this fire has been growing,‘ Mr Owen told a community meeting in Pakenham today.
Premier Daniel Andrews urged residents to follow warnings from authorities at a press conference alongside Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp.
‘Don’t put yourself in harm’s way and potentially add to the already considerable workload our firefighters have,‘ he said.
‘We’ve lost our livelihood, we’ve lost horses, we’ve lost our whole vineyard, we’ve lost our whole cellar door. Everything we’ve worked for our entire life, it’s all gone in a couple of hours. It’s surreal. I’m too scared to go back to look at it.’
‘I’m just really worried about the animals because we just had to run yesterday. We don’t sleep, we don’t care about our house we care about our livestock,‘
‘You could see flames hundreds of feet high across the whole ridge and it’d just woosh up and the flames were reaching for the sky.
There are about 19 fires still burning across the entire state of Victoria and about 4663 hectares of bushland has been burnt. The hot and windy conditions are expected to linger until Wednesday.
So no good news! The blaze is surely going to last until Wednesday… AT LEAST! Terrifying!