Great Ocean Road bushfire: dwellings destroyed as five municipalities evacuated

Houses burn amid Christmas Day emergency for Victorian sightseer centres including Lorne, Wye River, Separation Creek, Kennett River and Grey River

Dozens of dwellings were horror destroyed on Christmas Day as five Victorian tourist municipalities including Lorne were evacuated due to an out-of-control bushfire raging along the Great Ocean Road.

Steve Warrington of the Victorian emergency services State Control Centre told the ABC that it was thought more than 50 homes had been lost by Friday night to a huge fire that he said continue its work burning through the summer.

People in the holiday cities of Wye River, Separation Creek, Kennett River and Grey River were told to evacuate at noon on Christmas Day.

On Friday evening the Country Fire Authority also issued an departure discover for the town of Lorne, where the population of 1,000 swells during summer.

Victoria evacuation neighborhoods

The volley is moving into Separation Creek and is burning residences, fire commissioner Craig Lapsley told the ABC on Friday night.

Separation Creek and Wye River stood empty as the 1,300 -hectare bushfire stormed. CFA incident controller Mark Gunning said: Locals believe it will dangerously affect the west and south back of Lorne.

Residents of Kennett River and Grey River were advised to seek shelter at the Apollo Bay Leisure Centre. Locals and guests in Lorne, Allenvale, North Lorne and Cumberland River were told to seek shelter at the Torquay Relief Centre.

The CFA said a wind change forecast for the night was expected to push the shoot towards Lorne and surrounding areas including Allendale, North Lorne and the Cumberland River area.

Reports said downpour was dropped in Apollo Bay on Friday night.

A State Control Centre spokeswoman said place fervors were landing up to 2km away from the fervour front and even as far as the coasts. The Great Ocean Road was reopened to allow people to get out.

Jo Birley, from the Apollo Bay Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said people in the Otway Compass were poised for a bad summer.

The Otways havent had a serious fervour for a long, long time, Birley said. The last-place few years, its kind of been that tendernes of if and when it does happen, that it will be very serious.

She said the community was getting ready to help those cut off from their homes.

There are a number of parties gathering around the leisure core … some people have offered to employed their hand up and help, she said.

The influx came when Apollo Bay stores and occupations were preparing for one of the busiest dates of the year.

At this stage we still have power, we have had plies, we were prepared for a four-day long weekend, Birley said.

So the businesses, the hospitality industries, have capital and supply.

Temperatures thumped 35 C on Friday afternoon, while strong airs moved firefighting efforts difficult.

Kennett River and Grey River inhabitants were told to evacuate before 2.30 pm or stay put.

The fire at Lorne and the fire at Wye River are both of substantial feeling to us, said Victorias premier, Daniel Andrews. With extreme hot and high winds, with the change expected to come through in the early months of the evening the picture is precarious, things are unsettling as well, there is a real appreciation of fear in those local communities.

Claire Yeo, a elderly forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said a cold front would hopefully wreak some rainfall and succor to Victoria.

Most of the rainfall in Victoria will be in the early hours of Saturday, moving into eastern Victoria and New South Wales during Boxing Day.

Temperatures around Melbourne thumped 35 C, while strong breezes were expected to change attitude with a change moving in the different regions of the state in the evening.

Total fire bans were declared in regions across Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, with temperatures tip-off to touch the high 30 s or more in many areas.

Meanwhile a Boxing Day tornado was searching less likely to species off the Northern Territory. The Bureau of Meteorology said a low-pressure method that had been forecast to move south-east and formation into a hurricane over the Gulf of Carpentaria had instead looped back to set over the Top End.

Forecaster Angeline Prasad said the storm had been erratic since the cyclone watch was issued for the south-west gulf on Thursday.

Prasad said the system would remain where it was or push east into the gulf on Saturday afternoon and model into a category one cyclone.

Its still a moderately warm, deep organization, she said, inducing wild climate all over the Top End.

The eastern surface was being particularly pummelled by severe thunderstorms, heavy rainfalls of up to 300 mm in some areas, flash flooding, heavy channel-surf and strong to gale-force breezes with gusts of up to 90 km/ h.

Although we actually dont actually have a tornado its near enough, Prasad said.

A cyclone watch was issued for the coast from Port Roper to the Queensland border, including Groote Eylandt.

Hobart was on track to enter its second hottest Christmas, with the 33 C predicted exactly short of the record 34.6 C set in 1945.

South Australias Country Fire Service state co-ordinator, Leigh Miller, said the states forecast positions were the most difficult he was able to recall for Christmas Day in nearly 30 years.

We dont need to have catastrophic conditions for bad volleys to start, he told reporters.

The 109 boats tacking and jibing from Sydney to Hobart as the members of the annual race were expected to face choppy seas outside Sydney pate when setting off on Boxing Day.

A southerly of up to 35 bows and bumpy predicaments were pridcted for the fleets first night at sea.

Its not a really strong one, but it does pack a fair chip of perforate with it, said Michael Loganhe of the New South Wales Bureau of Meteorology.

It does fringe into the lower end of the tornado advising category. It will make for bumpy modes; its setting up for quite an eventful first night.

Australian Associated Press contributed to this report .

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