Lives and homes are under threat as fires edge closer to Victorian towns ahead of a weather change expected to fuel the flames with the worst still yet to come.
Emergency alerts have been issued for three major fires burning across the state.
About 70 properties in Adams Estate on Victoria’s South Gippsland are at risk of burning as the Grantville fire, which is headed north, edges closer on Sunday afternoon.
“Leaving now would be deadly,” authorities warned on Sunday afternoon.
Homes south of Gillingill are also being threatened by a bushfire near the Victorian town of Timbarra in East Gippsland.
Authorities say firefighters have been unable to stop the fire, which has crossed containment lines and residents should leave now.
Firefighters are also battling volatile conditions in central Victoria with about 70 homes close to Hepburn and Hepburn Springs under threat from fires.
Damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hailstones are expected to cross some parts of the east of the state as thunderstorms strike late Sunday.
“Our priority is protecting life, and then it is about protecting assets,” Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp.
“We knew (Sunday) was going to be a tough day for us as a state for our firefighters and our emergency services and that is the way it is panning out.”
While firefighters are working to protect property, lives are their priority, he said.
The fire has also prompted a watch and act message for various areas Daylesford, Dry Diggings, Eganstown, Elevated Plains, Kidds Gully, Porcupine Ridge and Shepherds Flat.
Hot, dry conditions and temperatures soared into the 40s prompting a total fire ban across the state and severe fire danger forecasts in the Mallee, Wimmera, South West and Central districts.
More than 1000 firefighters are working on the fires burning across the state with the long-running Timbarra blaze, scorching 15,500 hectares since January 16.
“It’s now up to Victorians to exercise good judgment and common sense so that they’re ready as well,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.