One home lost as bushfires rage

Written By komlim puldel on Jumat, 02 Januari 2015 | 20.01

South Australians and Victorians are facing the worst bushfire conditions so far this summer.

Firefighters fought through the night to control a major bushfire which threatened homes in Toodyay, near Perth. Picture: Bohdan Warchomij Source: PerthNow

AN out-of-control fire has been raging in Victoria's west, threatening the lives of Moyston, Rocky Point and Willaura North residents, while emergency warnings have also been issued for fires in the Adelaide Hills and South East.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley confirmed one house had burnt down in Moyston.

While crews have contained the bushfire and downgraded an emergency fire warning to a watch and act message, Mr Lapsley said crews would be fighting the blaze throughout the night.

He said wind forecast overnight meant the fire could pose challenges for crews.

Residents of Moyston in Victoria's west were told earlier that it was too late to leave as firefighters battled an out-of-control blaze pushing towards their town, with nearby Maroona also threatened.

VICTORIAN BUSHFIRES: More updates here from The Herald Sun

Deadly bushfires ... raging in Victoria. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley says high overnight temperatures are expected to create even worse fire conditions on Saturday.

Mr Lapsley also warned the worst may not be over.

"Be attuned for the 48 hours, be attuned about what happens overnight and make sure you understand that it's not just going to be fires that run in the daylight hours," Mr Lapsley told reporters.

He told Victorians to monitor several forms of emergency information to ensure they didn't miss important information in the early hours of Saturday.

On fire .. the bushfires at Moyston. Picture: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

Temperatures are tipped to stay as high as 28 degrees overnight, before hitting 39c in Melbourne and more than 40c in regional areas on Saturday.

Ambulance Victoria's Paul Holman said the overnight heat would mean ill and elderly people could struggle on Saturday.

"The body doesn't have enough time to recover," he said.

Mr Holman said people should check on their neighbours and make sure they stay hydrated and out of the heat if possible.

"Some of the interesting research out recently has shown that slushies, or ice drinks, are very effective in cooling. So that's probably a good tip for people - use slushies," he said.

Premier Daniel Andrews told parents not to leave children in cars, and to report anyone lighting fires.

Plumes of smoke ... bushfires in Victoria. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

"Today is about making sure we do nothing to contribute to a fire," he said.

Victoria Police acting commissioner Tim Cartwright urged people to call 000 if they see anyone lighting a fire or welding or using an angle grinder.

The out of control bushfire has burned 4796ha in Moyston so far.

The Country Fire Authority still has 60 tankers and 11 aircraft battling the blaze.

Smoke billowing ... the bushfires have continued to spread. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

Residents of the nearby town of Maroona have also been told to leave as the fire is heading towards them.

A relief centre has been set up at the nearby town of Ararat and some roads into and out of Moyston have been closed.

Emergency warning: An emergency centre has been established in Ararat for the Moyston bushfire. Picture: CFA. Source: Supplied

Home under threat ... bushfires force locals to flee. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

The warnings will be extended to the north central district on Saturday, including Mildura, Swan Hill and Horsham which can expect highs of 43C and winds up to 40km/h.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said potentially dangerous wind changes would hit the state on Saturday morning.

"Traditionally, we have seen more loss of life, loss of property after the wind change," Mr Lapsley said.

"The fire scenario is actually the most severe that we have had for this summer season, and it's only the start.''

Total fire bans have been declared in eight of the state's nine districts.

The warning comes as catastrophic fire conditions across South Australia and Western Australia have also put authorities on high alert.

A bushfire at Humbug Scrub in South Australia's Mount Lofty Ranges is burning out of control and threatening lives.

The Sampson Flat scrub fire at Humbug Scrub, near Kersbrook Road, is travelling southeast towards the Kersbrook township, Bagshaw Road, South Para Road and Scott Street.

There is a risk to lives and homes, the Country Fire Service says.

Residents should only leave if there is a clear path to a safe place.

Bushfires spearding ... the devastation in South Australia. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

Homes that are actively defended and well-prepared may provide safety, the CFS says.

"The Sampson Flat fire is travelling in a south-easterly direction towards Airstrip Road and Kersbrook Road," the CFS wrote on its Facebook page.

"There is a risk to lives and homes".

Fire at Sampson Flat taken from my balcony as it travels towards kersbrook. Courtesy: Facebook/Helen Marie

The CFS also said a westerly wind change is expected to hit Tantanoola at any time, which could drive the fire towards Glencose.

There are 10 trucks, 8 Forestry SA, 8 bulk water carriers, 3 firebombing aircraft and 3 observation aircraft on scene, ABC Emergency reports.

The fire was initially travelling in an easterly direction towards Kersbrook and about 2ha had been burnt by 1.30pm.

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRES: More updates from The Advertiser

The CFS in South Australia has also declared total fire bans in 14 of that state's 15 fire districts, with Mount Lofty Ranges and Lower South East districts considered catastrophic.

Temperatures have soared to 43.1C with winds of up to 31km/h in Adelaide — more than 12C above the January average — and 45.8C with winds of up to 65km/h on the West Coast.

The CFS issued a watch-and-act message about 12pm for an uncontrolled bushfire in the southern Mt Lofty Ranges.

Fighting back ... South Australia's bushfires are trying to be contained from the air. Picture: Sky News Source: Supplied

The service also issued warnings for fires at Murray Bridge East, near Karoonda Rd and Murray Drive, and another at Kepa Rd, Kepa, east of Murray Bridge.

CFS assistant chief officer Rob Sandford urged all of the state to be prepared to ensure all "communities are safe".

He said the service's aerial firefighting fleet was ready.

"We have our full compliment of aerial firefighting fleet online now (and) all our brigades, groups and regions along with partner agencies are as prepared as we can be," Mr Sandford said.

Crews have also been called to grass fires on Tapleys Hill Rd, near Adelaide Airport, and the Sturt Hwy, at Nurioopta in the Barossa Valley.

No warnings were issued in relation to the airport and Barossa Valley fires.

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