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UPDATE 7:01pm: THE death toll from Victoria's bushfires has risen to 181 as fire crews continue to fight blazes across the state.

Dozens of towns are on alert for imminent ember attack as changing winds blow embers ahead of the fire front sparking dangerous spot fires.

Wind has flared up a fire in the Bunyip State Park, which is now threatening the town of Gembrook.

Residents in Currawong Dve have been warned they may be directly impacted by the fire while those in East Beenak Rd to the Pack Track have been told to be aware of fire activity in the area.


The Murrindindi-Yea fire is the other main area of concern for firefighters with three separate fire fronts threatening towns. Urgent threat messages issued earlier this afternoon remain current.

DSE spokesman Kevin Monk said there was a lot of fire activity southwest of Alexandra.

He said a DSE plane flew over the fire area with heat imaging equipment which showed intense patches of fire in the area.

"It did show up as very intense fire behaviour. It only takes a bit of wind for a fire to take off again," he said.

Fire burning west of the Black Range is threatening the communities of Acheron, Connellys Creek, Crystal Creek, Scrubby Creek, Native Dog Creek and Molesworth. Residents have been warned to prepare for possible ember attack.

The northeast fire front is also threatening communities around Rubicon, Thornton-Taggerty Rd, Bulls Ln, and in Cathedral Ln to the east of Little River. Residents have been told to them may be directly impacted by the fire.

The fire is also burning near Glenburn and is threatening communities in Kalatha Creek Rd and east of Two Hills Rd near Glenburn.

The CFA's urgent threat message for the area has warned residents to prepare for increased fire activity and ember attack.

Communities near Yarck and Caveat have also been placed on high alert due to fire activity in the area.

Mr Monk said authorities were hopeful of calmer conditions overnight which would enable firefighters to build control lines around the fire fronts.

He said bulldozers were constructing containment lines and firefighters were backburning where weater conditions allowed.

He said while conditions were nowhere near the extremes of Saturday people should not become complacent.

"The fires are nowhere near controlled for people to let their guard down," he said.

"We saw what happened on the weekend with a bit of wind and a small rise in temperatures.

"The fuels are so tinder dry and there's a lot there ... it's just ready to burn."

Authorities have warned of a potentially volatile afternoon with strong winds forecast in all fire areas.

The deadly bushfires have claimed at least 173 lives since they began on Saturday.

A fire burning near Healesville is edging closer to the town with the CFA this morning warning residents to prepare for ember attack.

An urgent threat message issued this morning warned residents in Dowd Rd, Romeo Rd, Anderson Rd, Gibbs Rd, Juliet Ave and Donald St in Healesville they could come under heavy ember attack from the fire.

The message has been downgraded to an alert with residents warned to be aware of increased fire activity in the area.

The fire, burning just 4km southeast of Healesville, has so far razed 2750ha of land.

Toolangi residents have also been warned of possible ember attack from a fire burning southeast of the town.

DSE spokesman Ian Mansergh said the wind was causing the fire to spot ahead of the main front.
He said strong south and southwesterly winds were forecast this afternoon.

"Communities around the fire areas need to remain vigilant," he said.

"The whole state is very dry and wind becomes very important once the fire has started."


Twenty-five fires are still burning out of control across the state.

The Yea-Murrindindi section of the Kinglake Complex fire broke through containment lines on the east side of the Black Range this morning.

"We are trying to construct fire lines around Connellys Creek Rd to contain the fire," Mr Mansergh said.

"The winds will be very gusty this afternoon."

Mr Mansergh praised the efforts of fire crews who have worked around the clock to try and control the worst bushfires in Victoria's history.

"The crews are doing an amazing job under very difficult circumstances," he said.

"The arrival of crews from interstate has been very important for morale and in getting more people on the ground."

The CFA downgraded urgent threat messages for the Beechworth fire this morning, but warned communities of Dederang, Gundowring, Gundowring Upper, Glen Creek, Kergunyah South, Mudgeegonga and Running Creek to remain on high alert with fire activity to continue throughout the day.

Fire crews said last night was a good night last night and that no homes had been lost since Saturday, when 15 homes were destroyed.

The biggest source of worry for crews now is a fire at Running Creek which is burning towards Eskdale.

The blaze has not yet reached containment lines and there are hopes it could be under control by this afternoon. But a forecast increase in wind speed is a cause of concern.

No houses or assets were lost in the fire last night. Residents will be briefed on the situation at a meeting at 11am.

Urgent threat messages for the Churchill Jeeralang, which has razed more than 33,000ha, were also downgraded after fire last night threatened the town of Won Wron.

Residents in the fire area remain on high alert.

Fire continues to burn in the Bunyip State Park northeast of Tonimbuk, near Pakenham, with residents in the fire area warned to be on alert.

Fire crews are also still working around the perimeter of the Redesdale fire southeast of Bendigo. Crews are working to strengthen containment lines ahead of expected strong winds this afternoon.

Meanwhile, flight restrictions have been invoked above Victoria's bushfire areas in a bid to preserve them as crime scenes.

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