Nine homes destroyed by fire

BUSHFIRES have already claimed at least nine homes.

Victoria Police has confirmed that nine properties have been destroyed in Gippsland as a result of the out of control grass fire.

Police believed there may be more properties which have been destroyed but as certain areas have been declared unsafe to enter, police on the scene are unable to confim those reports.

Investigators will enter those areas once they have been declared safe and will make an assessment of the damage to other properties in the area.

Updated noon Saturday:

The bushfire is approximately 50,000 hectares in size.

The Licola Rd remains closed as the fire front is working its way towards Mount Useful and The Springs. It still has the potential to run up into the Macalister Valley.

The Department of Sustainability and Environment has advised the fire activity in the Licola area is being controlled.

The fire in the Dawson, Glenmaggie, Heyfield, Seaton Coongulla area is also being controlled.

People who have left their homes are encouraged to register with Red Cross in person at the relief centre at the Gippsland Regional Sports Complex, Cobains Rd, Sale, online at www.redcross.org.au or phone 1800 727 077.

Tourists are to stay away from the listed areas.

Fire activity, including smoke and ash, is visible from Maffra, Sale, Rosedale, Stratford and surrounding areas.

Residents in these areas have been warned not to phone 000 unless they see flames.

LICOLA AREA:

THERE is a large, slow moving bushfire in the Licola area.

The Licola Rd is closed to traffic.

This bushfire being controlled.

Residents have been told monitor conditions and to check and follow their bushfire survival plan and prepare for a bushfire in the area.

Turn on vehicle headlights and drive slowly as smoke will make it difficult to see.

For people with a survival plan, well prepared and actively defended homes can provide safety.

People who are away from home in the area are not to return home.

If time permits, check neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions. 

HEYFIELD AREA:

THE fire in the Dawson, Glenmaggie, Heyfield, Seaton and Coongulla area is being controlled.

Smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.

Residents have been told to monitor conditions and check their bushfire survival plan. People without a plan are to decide what they will do if the situation changes.

If time permits, check neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions.

ANYONE experiencing any symptoms which may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health advises people to seek medical advice or phone Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.

For general bushfire information phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on freecall 1800 240 667 or visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au

Listen to to ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or watch Sky News.

Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.

For road closures visit www.vicroads.vic.gov.au

For life or property threatening emergencies phone 000.