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Fears for homes in Vic bushfire area

he sky crane helicopter works to hold back a bushfire from the hamlet of Claredon, South of Ballarat in Victoria, Sunday, Dec 20. 2015. Victoria is experiencing bushfires and extreme heat. Photo AAP Image/David Crosling

The sky crane helicopter works to hold back a bushfire from the hamlet of Claredon, South of Ballarat in Victoria, Sunday, Dec 20. 2015. Victoria is experiencing bushfires and extreme heat. Attention has now moved to the Woodonga region near the NSW border. Photo AAP Image/David Crosling

Melbourne, AAP – Authorities are assessing a bushfire-ravaged region near the Victoria-NSW border to determine how many properties the blaze has claimed.

At least 16 homes have been destroyed in Victoria in recent days as hot and windy conditions swept through the state.

Fire crews on Monday night continued battling to control the Barnawartha blaze, near Wodonga, which has razed four homes.

Authorities will on Tuesday continue to assess whether the fire, reduced to 7700ha, has claimed other assets.

Premier Daniel Andrews said there were fears that more than four homes had been lost.

He also said there would be significant livestock loss in the area, a blow for primary producers.

‘This is people’s livelihoods, it’s a very difficult thing to have to go through,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Monday.

The Barnawartha fire was not yet under control on Monday night, but was within containment lines.

A further 12 houses and 30 sheds were destroyed in a fire at Scotsburn on the weekend as Victoria battled temperatures above 40C and winds up to 100km/h, before a cool change came through.

The County Fire Authority’s James Todd said it was a relief to see conditions settle, but Victorians needed to prepare for warmer conditions.

‘The forecast for Christmas Eve and Day is low 30s, a bit warmer in the northeast,’ he said.

‘But we’re saying to all Victorians that we’re only in December – and that means we have two more months of fire ahead of us.’


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