Two bushfires are burning at emergency level in Victoria, despite milder conditions with temperatures forecast to remain between the 20s and the low 30s.
One emergency warning remained in place in Victoria’s northeast on Sunday evening, about 8km east of Abbeyard. Early on Monday an emergency warning was issued for an east Gippsland fire, with people in Tamboon, Tamboon South and
Furnell urged to leave before it became too dangerous.
Milder conditions are expected to last throughout the week, with rain developing in the state’s east on Wednesday and extending at least until Saturday.
Fire authorities said that despite the milder conditions, people needed to remain aware of conditions in their area because fires were still active.
“We’ve got fairly benign weather conditions, but we still have very active fires in the landscape and people need to stay across their local conditions,” Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp said on Sunday.
The reprieve comes after the state’s death toll from the fires rose to four with the death of a veteran firefighter.
Wonthaggi father of two Bill Slade, 60, was working edge of a fire at Angers Rest, near Omeo, when he was struck by a tree on Saturday.
Mr Slade had worked on major fire incidents in the past including the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires.
“Bill was a much loved colleague, friend and member of the Wonthaggi community. He’ll be sorely missed by Parks Victoria,” Parks Victoria chief Matt Jackson said.
Premier Daniel Andrews sent his condolences to Mr Slade’s family on Sunday, stressing how his death showed the fires remain a dangerous environment.
More than 1.3 million hectares have been burnt in Victoria since November 21, while 286 homes and 400 other buildings have been damaged.
Poor and very poor air quality conditions due to the bushfires are forecast statewide, with smoke and haze in the east, northeast and central Victoria.
The milder conditions offer firefighters an opportunity to strengthen containment lines in fire-ravaged areas.
© AAP 2020