Firies keep battling persistent Vic blaze

Australia

Efforts to control a bushfire in Victoria’s Gippsland will stretch into a fifth day, with the threat to residents ongoing.

The blaze south of Rosedale on Monday was fuelled by winds and pushed eastwards towards Willung, with an emergency warning issued to the small community.

Residents were told it was too late to leave and they must act to survive.

The threat level has since been downgraded, with the Country Fire Authority crediting extensive firebombing for slowing the spread of fire.

“The really great work by crews – namely our fire bombers – managed to contain or suppress the fire that was causing the most grief and allowed us to downgrade the warning,” CFA spokeswoman Tammy Garret told AAP.

“But we are asking the community to remain vigilant and to continue to stay informed and monitor conditions as conditions could change quite rapidly.”

Firefighting efforts will continue throughout the night, including firebombing, Ms Garrett added.

A relief centre at Sale has been reopened.

The fire started near Rosedale on Friday when temperatures soared above 40C and has burnt about 12,000 hectares including pine plantations and fences.

Arson experts visited the site on Saturday and are yet to determine if it was deliberately lit or caused by lightning strikes.

A grass fire at Strathbogie, in the state’s northeast, has also been contained after burning about 65 hectares since Friday.

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