As fires continue to burn in New South Wales and Victoria and with conditions set to worsen, there are fears two major fire fronts could soon merge across the states’ border in the next 24 hours.
Hot and windy conditions could cause the fires in Corryong and across the border in NSW to “suck each other in” and merge into one huge fire, Tallangatta local incident controller Leigh McKenzie told the ABC today.
Mr McKenzie said crews were doorknocking as many properties as possible in the region, warning people about the “horror” weather conditions.
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Residents living in and around Corryong have been urged to leave now, with a fire along the NSW border potentially ferocious enough to create a fire storm tomorrow. This is when the fires are so big they can influence local weather conditions
A number of homes have already been lost in the region.
Over the next 24 hours, it’s feared strong north-westerly winds could push the fire in Victoria to the north – towards the 130,000-hectare Dunns Road fire burning in NSW.
Today that fire is bearing down on the 1300-strong town of Batlow – where residents were ordered to leave by Thursday night.
A similar message was issued for Khancoban, Greg Greg and Tooma.
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Holiday-makers in the Alps and popular holiday destinations between Nowra and the Victorian border were asked to be out by Friday night, causing massive traffic queues and petrol and supply shortages.
The Victorian Country Fire Authority said over 122,725 hectares have been burned in the Hume region, where there are 21 ongoing fires.
Authorities have asked anyone in Biggara, Tintaldra, Towong, Towong Upper, Walwa and surrounding areas to evacuate immediately.
An extreme fire danger rating has been forecast for Victoria’s North East on Saturday and the NSW areas of Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Far south coast, Southern Ranges and also the ACT.
The last “megafire” occurred in NSW in early December, when at least eight fires – including a huge 250,000-hectare bushfire at Gospers Mountain near Sydney – joined up to create a 60km fire front.