Fears Victoria fires will spread come New Year's Eve

Fears Victoria fires will spread come New Year's Eve

The number of houses destroyed by an out of control bushfire in the Australian state of Victoria has risen to 116.

The raging inferno was triggered by lightning strikes last week, and has torn through Wye River and Separation Creek.

Residents evacuated from their homes are still unable to return to their skeleton properties.

On Christmas Day, over 1600 residents and holidaymakers were forced to evacuate from Lorne to Torquay as thick smoke started to cover the town.

Around midday, police began door-knocking houses and a fire plan which had been planned for several days sprang into action.

On Boxing Day, the evacuation order for Lorne was lifted and main roads were reopened, allowing holidaymakers and residents to make their way back to the Surf Coast.

Lorne and Allenvale were put on a "watch and act" alert.

Victorian Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley says the blaze is likely to continue for at least the next two months.

It is not yet known how many homes destroyed were owned by permanent residents and how many belonged to holidaymakers, but the damage is significant.

No deaths or injuries have been reported.

The 2200 hectare fire began after a lightning strike on December 19. Hot temperatures and gusty winds have caused the initial fire to spread past containment lines.

30 millimetres of rain has helped dampen the fire somewhat, but it is feared the blaze could once again flare up come New Years

Premier Daniel Andrews says the evacuations have taken a toll on local economies, as the flames laps at the heels of tourist hot spots.

3 News / RadioLIVE