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Victorian bushfire danger set to spike

A female koala is given care by Judy O'Brien at Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary at Barwon Heads south of Melbourne on Monday. The koala was found dehydrated with a burnt hind paw in the Lorne area after a fire ravaged the coastal towns of Wye River and Separation Creek on Christmas Day. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

A female koala is given care by Judy O’Brien at Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary at Barwon Heads south of Melbourne on Monday. The koala was found dehydrated with a burnt hind paw in the Lorne area after a fire ravaged the coastal towns of Wye River and Separation Creek on Christmas Day. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Melbourne [AAP]

Victoria’s fire danger rating is set to spike again as coastal residents count the cost of a brutal bushfire.

The Wye River blaze claimed 116 homes and holiday houses on Christmas Day and is still out of control in deep forest.

Temperatures will shoot up to 34C on Wednesday and 37C on New Year’s Eve, before some rain is forecast on a hot New Year’s Day.

‘We need to acknowledge that Thursday and Friday present a significant fire challenge for the entire state,’ Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday.

‘We’ve been saying for months this is going to be a long, hot, dry and dangerous summer.’

Mr Andrews said despite significant property damage ‘there are no funerals to attend’, and he praised firefighters and the local community for their response to the blaze.

Sherryl Smith has been in Wye River full time for the past six years and said locals were ‘gutted’ at how random the destruction was.

‘You see the capriciousness of how the wind just whipped around and took that house and not this one,’ she told AAP.

The insurance cost of the bushfire is likely to top $53 million, with tourism-based businesses set to miss out on the same again in lost revenue.


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