CREWS from the Ballarat region are preparing to join Country Fire Authority teams battling serious bush and grass fires out of control near Melbourne.
Emergency warnings are in place for Riddells Creek, Sunbury, Wallan, Mickleham, Beveridge, Donnybrook, Kalkallo, Clarkefield, Goonawarra and The Gap, all north-west of Melbourne as dozens of crews battle fires which started near Gisborne and Mickleham.
The CFA has confirmed houses have been destroyed in fires in the Melbourne region today, with exact numbers of building losses not yet known.
Strike teams, including crews from the Ballarat region are being formed to help fight the blazes which are being fuelled by strong winds. A wind change which hit the state early is making conditions extremely difficult.
There are no major fires within a 60km radius of Ballarat at this stage.