A group of firefighters standing in a circle on dry grass near a road
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Key Points
  • Total fire bans are in place for parts of NSW, WA, Victoria and South Australia after a record breaking start to October.
  • Fire crews continue to fight blazes across the country.
  • Strong winds, combined with intense heat, are making conditions more severe.
Fires are and residents are being told to leave as crews battle to bring a bushfire in Victoria’s Gippsland region under control.
Emergency warnings were issued for Stockdale, Stratford, Briagolong and surrounding areas in the early hours of Tuesday morning due to the fire that started at Duffy Road, Briagolong.
Firefighters have been unable to stop the fire which is moving towards the Princes Highway and threatening homes and lives, the Victorian Country Fire Authority said.
People in the Stockdale and Stratford areas have been told to leave before conditions become too dangerous, while those in Brigalong should take shelter as it’s too late to leave.

Another out of control fire, which started further south near Lakeside Track within the Gippsland Coastal park, is also causing concern.

The fire is moving southeast after it crossed the Longford-Loch Sport Road and residents in Seacombe and nearby areas who have been unable to leave should take shelter.
Country Fire Authority Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said on Monday the next 24 hours would be difficult, with wild winds associated with a cold front set to make conditions worse.

“At the moment we’ve got a fire situation affecting families in East Gippsland, and then not 24 hours later an emergency rain event affecting those same communities,” he said.

A group of firefighters standing in a circle on dry grass near a road

Fire emergency warnings have been issued in multiple parts of Australia. Source: AAP / Josh Agnew

The Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday that people in the Central, West and South Gippsland and parts of East Gippsland, South West, North Central, North East and Wimmera districts should brace for damaging winds and heavy rainfall.

The winds will develop during Tuesday morning before heavy rain in the afternoon.
Briagolong resident Bob Saunders and his wife escaped the blaze on Sunday just before their mudbrick home was destroyed by fire.

“If you’ve got to evacuate just get out because I think if I’d slept in half an hour, 40 minutes (longer) I don’t think I’d be here now,” Saunders told 7 News.

Senior Meteorologist Christine Johnson said a cold front would bring damaging wind gusts to fire-affected areas in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
A different low-pressure system would dump heavy rainfall and spark flash flooding from Wednesday.

Victoria State Emergency Service chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch said Bairnsdale to the NSW border would be the hardest hit by heavy rains, with moderate flooding expected for the Mitchell, Tambo, Snowy and Genoa rivers.

Strong winds could worsen conditions

Authorities issued warnings in South Australia, Victoria, NSW and Tasmania amid concerns strong winds could worsen fire conditions.

A total fire ban was in place in SA for the northeast pastoral, west coast, and eastern Eyre Peninsula along with extreme fire danger warnings.

A group of firefighter struggle to put out a bushfire

There are fears the bushfires season could be the worst since the summer of 2019/2020. Source: Getty / Sam Mooy

The NSW Rural Fire Service issued a total fire ban for the southwest region bordering Victoria.

More than 100 fires were burning across NSW with 13 yet to be controlled.
RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers was worried this bushfire season would be the worst since 2019/20.
“We know there is community anxiety so we’ve got to balance between not scaring people but making people take it seriously so they do some simple things to make sure they look after themselves and their family,” he told 2GB.
“Clearly, fire season is here.”
A fire was also burning on Flinders Island in Bass Strait, with an emergency warning issued for Mount Tanner and Leeka.

In WA, total fire bans were in force for the Goldfields Midlands region.

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