The season's first big bushfire is threatening 190 Victorian homes

Photo: Getty Images

Around 190 homes in the Macedon Ranges, 80km north-west of Melbourne, are under threat from a fast-moving, out of control bushfire in the Cobaw area this afternoon.

The Country Fire Authority are bracing for a wind change due to hit at about 4pm, pushing the fire from its current south-east trajectory to the north-east, in the direction of Nullavale and Benloch, and houses are already under ember attack.

CFA officials say it’s too late to flee the blaze and people should take shelter indoors immediately. Watch and act warnings for the region were issued just before 3pm. Up to 190 homes are under threat by the fire, which has already burnt out more than 70 hectares. Ember attacks are occurring up to 2.5km from the frontline.

The fire, which began on the weekend as a controlled burn authorities believed they had under control, crossed Three Chain Road from Nudist Camp Track and was headed towards Lancefield before the expected wind change.

At least one house has been razed.

The Southern Belle. Source: CFA.

After a request from Victoria, NSW has sent two water-bombing air tankers, on loan from the United States, from Sydney to assist. Thor is a Hercules C130, with a 15,000 litre capacity, while Southern Belle is a DC10 able to drop 44,000 litres of water or fire retardant on a run.

The CFA already has 21 aircraft fighting the fires.

Hot weather and strong winds resulted in the first and earliest total fire ban Victoria has seen.

The bushfire has appeared on the Bureau of Meteorology’s radar.

Victoria has seen 100 blazes break out today across Victoria.

Premier Daniel Andrews said it was a much earlier fire season and will reach its peak earlier.

“This is going to be a very long, hot, dry and dangerous summer,” he said.

CFA commissioner Craig Lapsley said emergency services have been dealing with more than 200 incidents, many the result of the strong winds.

Lapsley said the state had not experienced heat and winds like this in October before.

“It’s taken us to a new space,” he said.

He said they knew the bushfire season would come earlier, based on advice from the BOM, but this was still earlier than expected.

The fire around Lancefield is expected to remain dangerous until at least 6pm on Tuesday night.

At 4.15pm, the CFA issued an wmergency warning for an out of control bushfire travelling north towards Koorlong, near Mildura.

Spotfires and ember attacks are starting up to 3km ahead of the main fire and Benetook Avenue, Twenty First Street & Whitecliff Avenues could be impacted anytime within the next 1-2 hours.

The CFA says leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous.

For updates and warnings, visit the Vic Emergency website.

Victoria’s bushfires. Source:

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