An out-of-control bushfire has prompted an emergency warning for residents to leave their homes before it is too late.
Bushfire alerts were issued for towns between Ballarat and Ararat in central Victoria on Thursday night.
The most serious affects 30 communities surrounding Beaufort, as an out-of-control fire moves southeast from Bayindeen-Rocky Road.
Residents have been ordered to leave the area “before conditions become too dangerous.”
More than 1,000 firefighters and 24 planes with water pumps are fighting the 5,000-hectare fire.
It is burning 60 kilometers from Pomonal and Dadswell Bridge, where 44 houses were destroyed by another bushfire last week.
Residents of 30 communities west of Ballarat in rural Victoria have been urged to evacuate the area as a 5,000 hectare bushfire burns out of control (pictured).
The state emergency service has warned those in Ballyrogan, Bayindeen, Beaufort, Ben Nevis, Brewster, Buangor, Buangor East, Chute, Cross Roads, Ercildoune, Eurambeen, Eversley, Glenbrae, Glenlogie, Lake Goldsmith, Langi Kal Kal, Lexton , Main Lead, Mena Park, Middle Creek, Mount Cole, Mount Lonarch, Nerring, Raglan, Shirley, Stockyard Hill, Trawalla and Waterloo will be evacuated.
Residents in those communities were warned that “emergency services may not be able to help you if you decide to stay.”
Those traveling to Ballarat or to the homes of family or friends outside the warning area have been urged to protect themselves.
Those evacuating the area should prioritize medicine, pets, a mobile phone and accompanying charger, while all drivers have been told to slow down and use their headlights while traveling through the smoke.
“Help centers are located at CE Brown Reserve, 236-296 Dowling Street Wendouree (Lake Wendouree Football Ground) and Alexander Oval, Waratah Avenue Ararat,” the Vic Emergency Warning read.
Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan said the bushfires are expected to worsen overnight as they begin to threaten homes and lives.
“It is going to continue to be a difficult few hours and of serious concern is the large fire which is out of control and moving eastwards around the Beaufort area,” Ms Allan told reporters.
‘This fire is advancing very quickly, with specific outbreaks hundreds of meters ahead of the fire front.
“If you are in these areas, please follow the advice and act now to save your own life.”
Huge plumes of smoke could be seen rising over the hillsides as it traveled south-east, threatening the homes and lives of community residents (pictured).
More than 1,000 firefighters are being assisted by 24 aircraft with water pumps to help control the fire (pictured) but it is expected to worsen overnight.
CFA Fire Chief Jason Heffernan said the out-of-control fire was started by hot, high-wind conditions that will worsen until midnight.
“The fire situation will get worse before it gets better,” he said.
‘Those strong winds will turn one side of the fire into the main fire front and put more communities under threat tonight.
“If you are in the emergency alert zone, the advice is to leave now and go to Ballarat.”
Large columns of smoke rose ominously over the hills and polluted the air in many local areas.
Meanwhile, residents just east of the fire in Addington, Brewster, Burrumbeet, Ercildoune, Glenbrae, Lexton, Trawalla, Waubra and Weatherboard were also issued “leave now” warnings.
Central to western Victoria was placed under an “extreme” fire warning and total fire bans were put in place on Thursday.
It comes just a week after 44 homes were tragically destroyed in Pomonal and Dadswell Bridge, about 60 kilometers west of the fire, by bushfires last week (pictured, burnt kangaroo).
Another 37 homes were declared “uninhabitable” as many locals returned to find they had kept the items they fled with (pictured, firefighters at the scene).
More fires may develop as thunderstorms are expected to pass over some areas with extreme fire warnings in southwestern Victoria and parts of New South Wales.
While the low pressure system may give respite to fires thanks to heavy rain, unaffected areas have been told to also prepare for large hail and damaging winds.
“It’s wild so avoid parking near trees and secure loose items,” wrote Victorian Storm Chasers on X.
It comes after more than 44 homes were destroyed and 37 deemed “uninhabitable” after a large bushfire ripped through Pomonal and Dadswell Bridge last week.