Blaze destroys up to 20 homes near Ballarat

AAP with ninemsn staff
5:30am January 9, 2013
January 09, 2013: At least 20 homes have been lost in Victoria as bushfires sweep across large swathes of the south eastern state.

Up to 20 homes have been destroyed after a grassland fire burned through 1100 hectares in central Victoria last night.

The fast-moving fire, one of 13 burning across the state, was fanned by south-westerly winds as it swept through the Chepstowe area, 30km west of Ballarat, about 6pm AEDT.

One of the homes destroyed overnight was the historic homestead Carngham Station, a two-storey brick villa set on more than 2000 hectares.

The homestead, near Station Lane, was left a smouldering shell after fires ravaged the property.

Four people were taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation, the Herald Sun reports.

A father and son, aged in their 50s and 20s, also suffered minor burns to their face and hands as they fled the fire and sought shelter in a dam.

January 08, 2013: Almost a thousand firefighters have now joined the battle against a huge blaze still raging out of control and threatening towns in the state's southwest.

More than 400 firefighters brought the massive grassfire under control late on Tuesday night.

Members of the farming community of Carngham were forced from their homes but have since breathed a sigh of relief as fire authorities permitted them to return home.

In southwest Victoria, a bushfire which started last Friday in a pine plantation at Kentbruck has burnt though 9000 hectares, but a westerly wind forced the fire back on itself on Tuesday.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said that after a few days of cooler conditions the next fire spike day was expected to be Friday.

"Conditions do become very mild Wednesday and Thursday in the state, that's a real opportunity for us to get on the upper hand at the fire at Kentbruck," he said.

Northeastern Victoria, which endured temperatures in the 40s on Tuesday, will get some respite today with temperatures falling into the mid 20s.

Victorian fire crews remain positioned at Wodonga and Wangaratta to help respond to fires in southern NSW if required, as well as any outbreaks in northeastern Victoria.

The Elvis water bomber had also been moved from Essendon to Wangaratta.

Motorists have been warned that thick smoke may restrict visibility along the Princes Hwy between Greenwald and the South Australian border.

© AAP 2014
Do you have any story leads, photos or videos?