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Home explodes into a ball of fire as four bushfires merge together into a mega blaze east of Melbourne - and firefighters say it's only going to get WORSE

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 3/03/2019 Alex Chapman and Brittany Chain

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Video provided by ABC News

At least five homes have been razed to the ground by bushfires in regional Victoria, with firefighters warning residents the worst is yet to come.

Lightning sparked the fires in Bunyip State Park, about 65km east of Melbourne, on Friday night.

a blurry photo of a fire: A house exploding in a massive ball of fire in the Bunyip State Forest during raging bushfires © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A house exploding in a massive ball of fire in the Bunyip State Forest during raging bushfires Authorities initially thought the fires could be maintained, but then four separate blazes merged into one, burning out of control and resulting in evacuation orders for more than 20 suburbs.

The impending threat of higher temperatures and the hottest start to autumn in three decades could undo the work of more than 400 firefighters who continue to battle 25 fires across the state.

But the heat could be the least of concerns, with the fire burning close to high voltage power lines.

a silhouette of a person: About 25 fires continue to burn as of Sunday morning, with 400 firefighters battling the blazes © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited About 25 fires continue to burn as of Sunday morning, with 400 firefighters battling the blazes A helicopter flew over the Bunyip State Park on Sunday to assess exactly which properties have been destroyed.  

About 4663 hectares of bushland has been burnt and the fire continues to spread eastwards.

a close up of a tree: At least five homes have been destroyed by out-of-control bushfires in regional Victoria. More than 4000 hectares have been destroyed © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited At least five homes have been destroyed by out-of-control bushfires in regional Victoria. More than 4000 hectares have been destroyed There is no respite in sight, with temperatures in the state's east expected to soar on Sunday afternoon.

The heat has resulted in a severe fire danger rating for the state's central district and a 'very high' rating for the rest of the Victoria.

Though the fire is burning close to power lines, Emergency Services Commissioner Andrew Crisp doesn't believe it poses a serious threat to Melbourne's power supply.

a close up of a tree: Four fires have merged at Bunyip State Park near Tonimbik about 65km east of Melbourne © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Four fires have merged at Bunyip State Park near Tonimbik about 65km east of Melbourne 'We have been very conscious of the transmissions lines to the south and also to the north easy of the Bunyip fire,' he told The Age.

'We have got people from Energy actually in the state control centre with us. There is well and truly sufficient supply and there's plans in place in terms of how we continue supply into Melbourne itself even if those transmission lines are impacted.'

a close up of a tree: At least five homes have been destroyed (pictured) as a result of the fires this weekend © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited At least five homes have been destroyed (pictured) as a result of the fires this weekend

The Bureau of Meteorology's senior forecaster Tom Delamotte said the conditions could get the best of those fighting the fires. 

'This means that if we have fires in the landscape, they could challenge firefighters,' he said.

'This is the hottest start to autumn in 30 years, following the hottest summer on record.'

a close up of a tree: Early morning winds on Sunday were expected to work against firefighters  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Early morning winds on Sunday were expected to work against firefighters  Overnight water bombing did little to quell the blazes, with about 25 continuing to burn Sunday morning.

Earlier, locals were told to seek shelter indoors because it was 'too late to leave' in some regions, including Gembrook and Bunyip, as a fast moving fire approached the Princes Highway. 

a sunset in the background: Residents in parts of Victoria have been urged to evacuate their homes as four out-of-control bushfires merged into one © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Residents in parts of Victoria have been urged to evacuate their homes as four out-of-control bushfires merged into one Residents in Boolarra, Budgeree, Churchill, Grand Ridge, Hazelwood, Jeeralang, Jumbuk and Yinnar were told their communities could be hit by the fires at any point.

Many sought shelter in relief centres located around the state in Morwell and Pakenham, arriving with no more than the clothes on their backs.

a horse standing on top of a wooden fence: Other locals were told to seek shelter indoors because it was 'too late to leave' some regions, including Gembrook and Bunyip as a fast moving fire approached the Princes Highway © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Other locals were told to seek shelter indoors because it was 'too late to leave' some regions, including Gembrook and Bunyip as a fast moving fire approached the Princes Highway

Early morning winds on Sunday were expected to work against firefighters, making the fire erratic as it burns further east.

'Winds may strengthen early in the morning from the north west which will affect the movement of the fire,' a statement from VicEmergency read.

'Crews are focused on asset protection and will be on the fireline all night to support local communities.'

a sunset in the background: A total fire ban has been put in place for Victoria as the temperatures begin to soar again  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited A total fire ban has been put in place for Victoria as the temperatures begin to soar again  Residents were reminded that 'leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous.' 

'Emergency Services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.'

For people who are already caught in the blaze, or choosing to remain at home, the emergency health service said they should take shelter before the fire actually arrives.

a sunset in the background: Residents were reminded that 'leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous' © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Residents were reminded that 'leaving now is the safest option, before conditions become too dangerous'

They warned the extreme heat is likely to be deadly, and could kill somebody well before the flames even reach.   

a large red truck driving down a dirt road: Hundreds of firefighters came together to put out blazes across the state as evacuation orders were rolled out for more than 20 suburbs  © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Hundreds of firefighters came together to put out blazes across the state as evacuation orders were rolled out for more than 20 suburbs  'Shelter in a room that has two exits including one directly to the outside. It is important to be able to see outside so you know what is happening with the fire,' they said.

'If your home catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.' 

A total fire ban is in place. 

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