The Macedon Ranges township of Malmsbury has been fortunate to escape from bushfire for the second time in two weeks.
On Tuesday morning, a fast moving, out of control grassfire threatened the entire town, properties and a youth detention centre with the Country Fire Authority issuing an emergency warning to the area.
Shops and cafes closed as the news of the fire spread, Malmsbury Primary School was evacuated and the Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre, a custodial centre for young men aged 18 to 21 deemed too vulnerable for adult prison, was placed in lockdown.
The fire was contained about 11.15am and downgraded from ‘‘large’’ to ‘‘medium’’ by the CFA, but the Calder Freeway remains closed in the area. Earlier, a CFA spokesman said the entire Malmsbury township was under threat.
A Malmsbury resident, identified only as ‘‘Bushie’’, spoke to Fairfax Media from the local bakery and said the fire was currently uphill from the town, but the wind was blowing towards properties and the centre of the town.
‘‘I survived Ash Wednesday so I’m not incredibly worried,’’ he said.
A spokeswoman from the state bushfire control centre said a strike team had been called in.
The spokeswoman said the blaze was about 60 hectares in size and said there was no indication what started it.
It is the second time in less than two weeks the town has been threatened by fire – over the Australia Day long weekend a fast-moving grassfire destroyed hay sheds and came close to engulfing houses as it burned through more than 115 hectares.
The bluestone town has a population of 612.