Five emergency warnings and a further six evacuation warnings are now in place across Victoria, as uncontrolled bushfires threaten to gain momentum with conditions expected to worsen today.
More than 50 blazes remain out-of-control across the state as it braces for temperatures forecast to reach as high as 44C.
Strong winds are also expected, which could merge out-of-control bushfires, and threaten more lives and properties.
Two people have been confirmed dead in the Victoria bushfires and 28 people remain unaccounted for, as fears for their safety grows.
Premier Daniel Andrews this week declared a State of Disaster, allowing the government to order evacuations in an area with as many as 140,000 permanent residents and tens of thousands more vacationers.
“We have grave fears for the safety and wellbeing for those 28 who cannot be located,” Mr Andrews said.
“Some of those who were part of the original 17 were located (Thursday). If you can leave, you must leave.”
Emergency warnings have been issued for Berringama, Burrowye, Koelong, Lucyvale, Nariel Valley, Shelley and the surrounding communities in Victoria.
They are also current for Brumby, Cobberas and Deddick Valley, as well as Suggan Buggan, Wulgulmerang and Wulgulmerang East. Further warnings are active for Bendoc, Bonang, Cabanandra, Deddick Valley, Delegate River, Dellicknora, Goongerah, Haydens Bog, Nurran, Roaring Camp and Tubbut, along with Biggara, Tintaldra, Towong, Towong Upper, Walwa and surrounding communities.
The Murray Valley Highway is closed in both directions due to increased potential for impact from the fire, and weather conditions are predicted to be extreme. They will create conditions which “may not be survivable”, according to the CFA.
“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave,” a CFA spokesperson said.