A return of heat and high winds is re-energising the destructive bushfire on Victoria’s surf coast, but firefighters are confident they can keep the fire in check.
Fire crews endured temperatures into the 30s and increased winds on Monday ahead of a scorching Wednesday, with temperatures to reach the high 30s in the area with strong northerly winds.
At least 350 firefighters and eight water-bombing aircraft worked through Monday to strengthen containment lines around the 2500-hectare Wye River-Jamieson Creek blaze, which destroyed 116 homes over Christmas.
It’s expected the fire will burn right through summer.
“There’s no doubt that we are seeing increased smoke and increased fire activity and that will continue until Wednesday,” incident controller Alistair Drayton told AAP.
“The fire is burning in a very deep, dangerous ravine at the moment and we have done a lot of good work in there, but we will be pulling those crews out of there and increasing our aerial presence.”
Those firefighters will be re-deployed to the flanks of the fire and to the towns of Wye River, Separation Creek and Kennett River, Mr Drayton said.
Additional aircraft will be assigned to fire-bombing duties, he said.
“The temperatures will get up to the high 30s and the winds will increase a lot but we have done a lot of good work over the past week and we are reasonably confident that it won’t be too big an issue come Wednesday,” Mr Drayton said.
In the meantime, crews will continue to strengthen containment lines around the fire.
Residents of Wye River and Separation Creek are being advised to think about their fire plans.
A second group of New Zealand firefighters will join 22 compatriots already at the scene to assist in the fire fight.