- Subscribers can see the photos of the fire by following this link.
UPDATE, 7AM: Town meeting to be held this morning
A town meeting will be held in Buninyong this morning, with the fire now officially under control.
A “watch and act” warning remains in place for people in the Durham Lead, Grenville and Scotsburn areas, with extreme temperatures forecast today.
The meeting will be held at Buninyong Town Hall, 309A Learmonth Street, at 10am.
UPDATE, 9.15PM: Preparations to reinforce containment ahead of hot forecast
Firefighting crews will work through the night to ensure the Scotsburn fire containment lines are reinforced ahead of hot and windy conditions forecast tomorrow. Ballarat is expected to reach a top of 36C.
Road blockages to streets off inbound lanes on the Midland Highway will remain closed. These stretch back to Pryors Road.
Residents are expected to be allowed back into their homes soon, depending on the next stage of containment.
Ballarat Incident Control Centre operations officer Peter Kandlewis said this was not just about containment and management anymore – work was acutely focused on preparations for tomorrow in high-risk conditions.
UPDATE, 6.47PM: Emergency warnings downgraded
The emergency warnings have been downgraded to “watch and act”.
That concludes The Courier’s free coverage of the fire, now there are no longer lives in danger and fire crews are on top of the blaze.
UPDATE, 6.16PM: Fire crews getting on top
Firefighters say they have got on top of the blaze and have stopped it spreading.
CFA Region 15 Operation Duty Officer Gavin Hope said it appeared there had not been any structural losses and there were no reports of any stock losses.
A total of 19 fire trucks, four firefighting aircraft and nine strike teams are currently battling the blaze.
UPDATE, 5.57PM: Update on emergency warning areas
The CFA has updated its emergency warnings for the Buninyong fire, which is burning out of control and about 40 hectares in size near Ballarat. The fire is travelling south due to southerly winds, but is moving slower than it had been earlier this afternoon.
An emergency bushfire warning is in place for the red zone, and anyone in this section is being urged to take shelter indoors as it is too dangerous to attempt to flee the area.
In the orange zone, a watch and act is in place, which is urging people to evacuate the area.
5.35PM: What we know so far
The out-of-control fire is about 40 hectares in size. A Country Fire Authority spokesman said it had not been advancing or spreading much in the past hour.
A total of 19 fire trucks, four firefighting aircraft and nine strike teams are currently battling the blaze. In additon bulldozers are creating fire breaks, the spokesman said.
Emergency warnings have been issued for people in the Buninyong and Scotsburn area to remain indoors.
It is about 32 degrees in Ballarat and winds are gusting from the north at about 25 km/h. Weather conditions are not expected to change in the next few hours.
Total fire bans have been declared on Friday in the state's north and north-west, with the mercury set to rise above 40 degrees in some regional centres.
The Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country regions will all be subject to total fire bans.
The CFA is urging those in the Buninyong area to keep checking the Vic Emergency website for the latest information.
5.10PM: It’s too late to leave, people in Scotsburn area urged to seek shelter indoors.
Vic Emergency has updated its warning for the areas near the Buninyong fire.
Whereas before people were being urged to evacuate if they were in the orange area, the advice has changed and now people are being urged to urgently seek shelter indoors.
Here is the emergency warning:
This Emergency Warning is being issued for Finns Rd, Platts Rd and Scotts Lane, Buninyong
There is a bushfire at Buninyong/Scotsburn area that is not yet under control.
The bushfire is travelling in a southerly direction from Brennans Rd.
Firefighters have been unable to stop the fire and it has crossed Scotts Lane and is moving towards Pryors Rd.
What you should do:
- You should move indoors:
- Bring your pets inside.
- Protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and trousers, made from cotton or wool. Wear leather boots.
- Close all exterior doors, windows and vents and turn off cooling systems.
- Shelter in a room that has two exits such as a kitchen or laundry.
- You must shelter before the fire arrives. The extreme heat will kill you well before the flames reach you.
- If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.
- If you cannot get indoors, last resort options include:
- Shelter in the middle of a large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve.
- Get into a large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool.
- Try to protect yourself from the fire's heat.
- If you are travelling:
- If you are travelling, do not enter the warning area. U-turn to safety.
- If you are currently driving slow down and turn on your headlights. Smoke will make it difficult to see.
- If you are caught in fire in your car:
- Park behind a solid structure to block the fire's heat or pull over to cleared area.
- Try to position the car towards the approaching fire.
- Turn on your hazard lights and headlights.
- Close all windows.
- Turn off the air-conditioning and shut all the air vents.
- Turn your car engine off.
- Get down as low as possible below window level and cover up with a woollen blanket.
Spot fires and embers are starting ahead of the main fire.
UPDATE, 4.45PM: Another emergency warning has just been issued.
The message says firefighters have been unable to stop the fire and it has crossed Scotts Lane and is moving towards Pryors Road.
It continues to travel in a southerly direction.
It says people in the area “are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.
The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave, leaving now would be deadly.”
UPDATE, 4.21PM: We have just received our first photos from the scene from our photographer Lachlan Bence.
Subscribers can see the photos by following this link.
There have not been any recent updates posted by the CFA.
UPDATE, 4PM: The fire has now crossed Scotts Lane, prompting yet another warning message from the CFA.
People in the Brennans Road, Pryors Road and Platts Road areas have been told it’s too late to leave.
UPDATE, 3.54PM: A third warning has just been issued as the fire continues to burn out of control.
A “watch and act” has been issued for Durham Lead and Scotsburn, to the south of where the fire is burning.
A “watch and act” is one grade down from an “emergency warning”.
People in these areas are advised to leave immediately.
UPDATE, 3.40PM: Another emergency warning has just been issued.
The warning has been issued for Brennans Rd and Pryors Rd.
There are at least 20 CFA units fighting the blaze.
UPDATE, 3.10PM: An emergency warning has now been issued for Buninyong and Scotsburn.
There is a bushfire in the vicinity of Devonshire Rd and Nashs Rd Buninyong that is out of control.
It is travelling in a southerly direction towards Brennans Rd.
This fire is threatening homes and lives.
This message is for you if you are at south of Devonshire Rd.
You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive.
The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave, leaving now would be deadly.
EARLIER, 3PM: Firefighters are currently fighting an out-of-control bushfire in Buninyong.
It is understood air support has been called in to help fight the blaze, which is burning to the south of the Midland Highway.
The fire is burning near the corner of Devonshire Road and Nash’s Road.
Crews were first called about 2.35pm, when the mercury in Ballarat was sitting at about 31 degrees.
As of 3pm, there were eight units tackling the blaze.
A lot of smoke is visible in the area.
The fire is in relatively dense trees.
More to come.