At least 50 homes destroyed in Victoria fires

The sky crane helicopter works to hold back a bushfire from the hamlet of Claredon, South of Ballarat in Victoria (AAP)
The sky crane helicopter works to hold back a bushfire from the hamlet of Claredon, South of Ballarat in Victoria (AAP)

Dozens of Australian families have been left homeless after an out-of-control bushfire tore through southern Victoria.

At least 103 homes have been destroyed and hundreds more are still under threat.

Dozens of Australian families have been left homeless - after an out of control bushfire tore through southern Victoria.

The saying goes red sky at night, sailor's delight. But for Victorians it was a devastating sight.

All night red, hot flames burst through the Christmas sky, claiming more than 50 homes in popular surf holiday towns.

Hundreds of residents and tourists had to be evacuated. They were prepared for the worst.

The out-of-control blaze has already claimed 2200 hectares. It was sparked by a lightning strike a week ago.

It was a slow burn until the hot, dry, windy Christmas Day conditions took hold.

Multiple helicopters, for hours on end, battled the fire. But not even they could save the cliff-top homes – every single one was destroyed.

"We say to all of affected by this fire, we are here for you," says Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews. "We will support you to rebuild. We will support you to get through this difficult time. But as tough and as challenging as it is, we can be very proud of our emergency services and proud no lives were lost."

"You have got to stand proud to say that people are with us," says fire chief Craig Lapsley. "That is, they walked away from the fire. They had every potential to be a killer – a killer in every aspect with the intensity levels of that fire."

Animals also managed to escape the raging fires, which will continue to burn for many more days.

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