Fire activity increases in east Victoria

Hot weather and more dangerous fire conditons are expected across Victoria on Wednesday.
Hot weather and more dangerous fire conditons are expected across Victoria on Wednesday.

More rain is forecast across Victoria as most of the state escaped unscathed on a forecast day of severe danger, despite a period of increased activity in the east.

While four fires reached a Watch and Act level in the Cann River area in the east as winds up to 80km/h fanned the active blazes, a late cool change that swept across the state reduced that to one in the early evening.

An emergency alert was placed at 6.30pm for a fire in Allendale, north of Ballarat, with emergency services warning residents that an imminent southwesterly wind change will push the fire towards Kingston.

But the Country Fire Authority's early fears that high temperatures and gusty winds would spark new fires in the west proved unfounded.

Rain has helped containment work on the active blazes, but also caused damage to roads and landslips.

More rain will follow the cool change with between 25mm and 40mm expected across the central and southern parts of the state, along with west Gippsland.

A dust storm covered Mildura with tints of red and orange and reduced visibility on the roads on Wednesday.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp urged Victorians to remain vigilant, especially when travelling over the long weekend.

Improving weather conditions are forecast to settle in on Thursday, bringing clear skies before Australia Day.

Storms have caused havoc in recent days, with the State Emergency Service confirming on Tuesday evening they had received 2220 calls for assistance since rain lashed Victoria on Sunday afternoon.

Melbourne recorded 44mm of rain on Tuesday, which marked its highest 24 hour rainfall since 2011.

Also on Wednesday, firefighter Bill Slade was farewelled at a service in Wonthaggi after being killed by a falling tree when working at the edge of a fire near Omeo on January 11.

The much-loved husband and father-of-two was farewelled by loved ones and colleagues and remembered as a 'loving husband, doting father' and a 'ripper bloke'.

Australian Associated Press