Victorian Bushfire Destroys 53 Homes, Lorne Alert Downgraded

26/12/2015 10:17 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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YAAPEET, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 16: (EUROPE AND AUSTRALASIA OUT) Bushfires burn north of Yaapeet off Goslings Road on January 16, 2014 in the Wimmera region of western Victoria. Over 65 fires are burning across the state, after several days of over 40 degree celsius temperatures and high winds in the region. (Photo by Jake Nowakowski / Newspix/Getty Images

Rain is helping hundreds of firefighters who continue to battle an out-of-control bushfire on Victoria's southwest coast that has destroyed more than 50 homes.

The huge firefighting operation is said to involve more about 150 firefighters, 60 tankers and 18 aircraft.

The assets have been out in the fire field overnight battling the 2000-hectare blaze.

Fifty-three houses have been destroyed in Separation Creek and Wye River due to the blaze.

Emergency warnings remain in place for Wye River, Separation Creek, Kennett River and Grey River.

On its website, the Country Fire Authority is urging people in those impacted areas to stay put.

"You are in danger, act now to protect yourself. It is too late to leave. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately," it says.

Community meetings will be held at the Apollo Bay relief centre 34 Costin Street at 2pm.

A recommendation to evacuate Lorne and Allenvale is no longer current and the alert for those areas has been downgraded to watch and act.

"There is no immediate threat to the community but this could change with alteration in weather conditions. People can now return to the area but remain vigilent," the CFA says.

"Rain has impacted on the fire and the forward rate of spread has slowed. The fire remains outside of control lines."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull took to Twitter on Christmas night to thank those fighting the fires on Victoria's surf coast.

Despite Saturday's downgrade, hundreds are thought to be in danger today as the out-of-control bushfire continues to burn near towns along the iconic Great Ocean Road.

However, no injuries or fatalities have yet been reported.

Authorities say overnight rain has provided help for the firefighting effort.

Weather over the next few days is said to be better for those battling the blaze, with rain and lower temperatures forecast.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews predicted a "very tough" few days ahead, especially for those who had lost homes.

"This is really a very challenging fire but one in the planning and the execution and indeed in terms of the outcomes, where no person has been harmed," he told reporters.

"That's something that we can be very proud of."

He said 35 houses were gone in Wye River, and 18 lost in Separation Creek.

"The fire stopped just some 500 metres short of Kennett River. There would have been several more losses if it had kept going," Andrews added.

He said relief grants of $1300 were available for those who had been forced from their homes.

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