Australia — Residents in a beachside suburb of Perth have fled an out-of-control bushfire, which started just after midnight and sent embers flying into the suburban street.
In South Australia, farmers near the town of Mosquito Hill, 67km southeast of Adelaide, were counting their losses from an out-of-control grassfire that destroyed six buildings and burned through 310 hectares on Thursday.
That fire was contained late on Thursday but remained burning in scrubland behind containment lines. The SA Country Fire Service warned smoke from the fire could affect people as far away as Adelaide.
The WA fire was burning in parkland in the beachfront suburb of Secret Harbour, 50km south of Perth. It was reported about 1am on Friday and had burned around 10ha of bush, but the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said flying embers had sparked a number of spot fires ahead of the main front.
Residents in several streets were told to evacuate.
In a statement, DFES said the cause of the fire was unknown but unpredictable winds were causing it to burn in three different directions, making it difficult to control.
In Victoria, where 116 houses were destroyed on Christmas Day when a fire that has been burning in the Otways state forest since 19 December hit the towns of Wye River and Separation Creek, dozens of people who had to leave Kennett River, Grey River and Wongarra on Thursday were able to celebrate New Years Eve back in their own homes after authorities lifted the evacuation order at 7.30pm.
A spokeswoman from the Victorian state fire control centre told Guardian Australia the Jamieson Track fire did not move very far at all toward the settlements before a cool southwesterly change in the afternoon, which pushed the fire back into deep bushland.
It didnt move past the containment lines that are built there at the moment, she said.
The spokeswoman said authorities hoped to have the Great Ocean Road reopened in a couple of days, once sewage, water and power had been reconnected to affected areas of Wye River and Separation Creek.
The fire is expected to burn for some time but is not posing a serious threat. It has barely changed in size since Christmas Day, still hovering just under 2,400ha, and 600 firefighters from four agencies are working to put containment lines around its 39km perimeter.
There are obviously still significant hazards in the Wye River area and residents have been taken in to view their properties but are not allowed to stay, but were hoping that will happen in the next couple of days, the spokeswoman said.
The fire danger rating forecast for Victoria is for very high to low fire danger in the next four days the three lowest categories on the scale.
Firefighters in Victoria were called to 61 grass fires between 6am on Thursday and 6am Friday. Of those, 25 fires, all reported between midnight and 2am, were started by illegal firework use.
Fireworks also put two Victorian men in hospital, after one received facial burns and singed eyebrows at Inverloch and another, at Pikes Creek, suffered burns to his face and head.