Homes destroyed in Victoria fires

A burnt out area from a bushfire near Scotsburn, South of Ballarat in Victoria (AAP)
A burnt out area from a bushfire near Scotsburn, South of Ballarat in Victoria (AAP)

Sixteen homes have been destroyed and 9000 hectares of land burnt by fires in the Australian state of Victoria.

Firefighters welcomed cooler conditions as they continued to battle the blazes all day.

It proved too hot for one bride and groom, who had to adopt a true, blue Aussie contingency plan.

Desperate to find something, anything, from what's left of their family home, heartbroken residents spent the day sifting through mainly ashes – home after home a charred mess, victim of a raging firestorm.

The wall of flames consumed everything in its path. Residents ran for their lives.

"We just grabbed what we could, put it in the car and fled," says fire victim Shane Donovan.

But no lives were lost, neighbours are heartened and relieved they still have each other.

"I just can't believe what the fire brigade did and how they saved all our lives," says fire victim George Woodruff.

Down the road, there are plenty of smiles now, but a runaway fire prevented a bride from getting to the wedding venue.

"I was on my way and the fire cut across, strong wind," says bride Carli Cehic. "One of the locals drove past us and told us to turn around. I was hysterical."

But where there's a will, there's a way. They found a pub and said "I do" on the back deck. Around 120 guests squeezed in.

"We planned a wedding for two years and we did it in one hour here!" says groom Ennis Cehic.

Twenty-six fires are still burning in Victoria, but firefighters are confident of bringing even the most significant under control, with cooler temperatures bringing much needed relief.

Communities are now rallying to help those who have lost everything, just days before Christmas.

The Christmas forecast isn't good for Victoria. Authorities are warning the state should brace for a potentially black Christmas, with the hot, windy conditions expected to return on Friday.

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