Victoria bushfire: Fears for evacuees as monster blaze cuts off highway

The situation continues to worsen in the Australian state of Victoria as firefighters struggle to contain a massive fire burning out of control about 65 kilometres east of Melbourne.

It began on Friday after lightning strikes started several small blazes inside the state's national park. But these grew until the out-of-control flames merged into one 6000-hectare monster blaze that's continuing to grow.

Five homes have been lost and authorities say there are likely to be more. And the battle is now turning to saving lives from the path of the destructive flames.

Local resident David Wentworth's house is dangerously close to the fire.

His kids have fled the family home and he's preparing to abandon his property and his livelihood too. His animals will be left to survive as best they can.

He's one of hundreds of Bunyip residents who have been forced to flee to safety at evacuation centres.

But the situation continues to worsen. Fuelled by 40degC temperatures and pushed by erratic winds, the fast-moving fire has now reached a major highway. And for some people, it might be too late to leave.

"Our worst-case scenario is when people become trapped in vehicles," a fire expert warned at a press conference on Sunday.

There are now 850 firefighters and more than a dozen planes and other aircraft focused on this fire fight that's escalating with each hour.

"It's a dangerous time putting it bluntly - not just for firefighters, but communities," Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said in a televised emergency briefing on Sunday.

Mr Crisp said the battle to fight the fires would likely take several days.

"We've got a tough day today but it doesn't finish today," he said.

"In fact we've probably got no relief until Wednesday, when there's some rain that's forecast. But we've got to get through today."


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