GALLERY: Maiden Gully fire under control

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UPDATE 1.05pm: 

SOME residents are now returning to their homes in Schumakers Lane.

Motorists are asked to continue to avoid the area.

Schumakers Lane is still closed, all other roads are now open.

Smoke may be visible from nearby communities and roads.

The CFA has asked that If you have time, check your neighbours to see if they are monitoring conditions.

Continue to stay informed and monitor conditions.

Contact a family member or friend to tell them what you plan to do now.

If you are experiencing smoke exposure, seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.

EARLIER: RESIDENTS have been evacuated from a number of houses in Schumakers Lane as fire crews remain on scene.

The fire has been contained and declared under control. CFA and DEPI crews are working to black out the last of the embers.

A helicopter has made dozens of water drops at the centre of the fire.

Onlookers said the fire came frighteningly close to a number of properties.

Warren Lowe was keeping an eye on his sister's home that was surrounded by flames.

He said his sister and partner were not home.

"The flames were right on top of the house," he said.

"I'm surprised its still standing. The fire must have gone around it."

Neighbours John Robinson and Ian Smith said there were on high alert.

Mr Smith said the dry conditions were similar to five years ago.

"It's a bit too close for my liking," he said.

The CFA says there will still be significant smoke visible around the Maiden Gully and Bendigo areas, but no one is under threat.

The Calder Hwy between Olympic Parade and Marong township remains closed, along with Maiden Gully Road.

Smoke will be visible from nearby communities and roads.

UPDATE 11.40AM: 

Traffic is being diverted as fire crews battle a blaze at Maiden Gully.

Traffic has been blocked at Marong and from Olympic Parade in Kangaroo Flat.

Police are asking people to avoid the Maiden Gully area, particularly near Schumakers Lane and Olympic Parade.

Victoria Police acting superintendent and divisional commander Brad Dixon said a wind change was expected in the next hour and would change the direction of the fire.

"It's a volatile area to come in to,'' he said.

EARLIER:  A FAST-MOVING grassfire is threatening to reach properties in Maiden Gully.

At least 10 fire trucks and aircraft are battling the blaze in Schumakers Lane.

Flames have raced across vacant grass land toward the rear of a house.

Heavy smoke has billowed across the street down to the Calder Highway.

At 11.15am more back up units were still being called to respond to the blaze.

A Grassfire that threatened homes in Long Gully has been ruled suspicious.
Police are searching for the culprits who are believed to have deliberately lit the fire in scrubland in Comet Street long gully about 10.15am.

EARLIER: FIRE units have been called to a spreading grass and scrub fire at Schumakers Lane, Maiden Gully.

Firefighters are responding to a grassfire travelling in a south easterly direction from Shumakers Lane towards Homer Beacon Road.
 
Homes in the Homer Beacon Road vicinity are under threat.
 
The CFA has warned residents they are  in danger, act now to protect yourself.

It is too late to leave. The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately.
 
Smoke will be visible from nearby communities and roads.

Safety Information:

When indoors:

Close all exterior doors, windows and vents and turn off cooling systems.
Shelter in a room that has a door and or a window to the outside - It is critical to keep an eye on what is happening with the fire.

If you cannot get indoors, other last resort options include:

A large open area like a ploughed paddock, football oval or sporting reserve.
A large body of water like a dam, lake, river, the ocean or inground pool.
Try to protect yourself from the fire's heat.

In the car:

Park behind a solid structure to block the fire's heat or pull over to a cleared area.
Try to position the car towards the approaching fire.
Put on your hazard lights and headlights.
Turn the engine off, close all windows and ensure that car air vents are closed.
Get down as low as possible below window level and cover up with a woolen blanket.

If you are travelling, do not enter the area, U-turn to safety.

If you are away from home, do not return.

For life or property threatening emergencies call 000

If you need medical advice for burns or smoke exposure call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024

Stay Informed:

Via www.cfa.vic.gov.au

Tune to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or Sky News TV

Call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667

Deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.

Download the FireReady App and follow CFA on Twitter or Facebook

Road Closures: check VicRoads Website.


EMERGENCY CONTACTS:

Victorian Bushfire Information Line: 1800 240 667
http://emergency.vic.gov.au

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