Forty locals have gathered at the Heyfield pub in Victoria's east as word trickles through that bushfires sweeping the area may have claimed several homes.
A blaze which started in Aberfeldy on Thursday now covers 8500 hectares, with residents in a number of towns surrounded by fire and unable to leave.
The CFA issued an updated emergency warning about 7.30am, to say the fire front was expected to hit Seaton, Dawson, Heyfield, Toongabbie, Cowwar, Lake Glenmaggie, Glenmaggie and adjoining bush areas immediately.
Heyfield Commercial Hotel publican Jeremiah Wallace said about 40 locals were gathered there and keenly listening to the radio and watching television for updates.
He estimated the fire was about 5km from Heyfield.
"It's pretty scary," Mr Wallace told AAP.
"We have just heard Lake Glenmaggie is burning.
"They (Seaton) have lost some houses, they just don't know how many."
Mr Wallace said if the wind changed to the southwest as expected on Friday morning it would push the fire from Seaton to Heyfield.
"We have already been told by the CFA that the wind is turning around," he said.
"The town is pretty dark, it's just smoke. We are getting a lot of embers landing.
"The whole place is covered (with smoke) - we don't know whether the sun is up yet."
Mr Wallace said it was too late to leave but that was never his plan.
"Our building is triple-brick so we think we're pretty safe," he said.
Mr Wallace said the pub had a generator, four hoses and buckets of water at the ready.
"It's pretty sombre but we are holding on, we're hanging in," he said.
"That's all we can do."
Mr Wallace said the pub had been preparing meals for CFA crews in the past few days.
"In my position you have got to put on a front to support everybody," he said.