Bushfires in Victoria's East Gippsland have reached a extreme danger level, forcing residents and holiday-makers to evacuate ahead of a scorching day across the state.
After tens of thousands of holiday-makers were told to leave the region amid worsening fire conditions, a section of the highway connecting the easternmost part of the state with NSW was closed due to bushfire.
The road has since been re-opened, but the bushfire threatening the Wingan River area remained under an emergency warning, burning out of control 20km east of Cann River.
Emergency Victoria said the fire had increased rapidly in size and is approximately burning through 1200 hectares.
Another emergency alert remained in place for Amboyne, Bonang, Cabanandra, Deddick Valley, Dellicknora and Tubbut. The bushfire threatens lives in these communities as it travels in a northeasterly direction towards them.
Emergency services had previously given a blunt safety warning to Lakes Entrance residents and about 30,000 holiday-makers visiting the area.
"We are asking you to now leave East Gippsland from that area, east of Bairnsdale, along the coast there, into the parks, into the forest," Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters on Sunday.
"You should not be there tomorrow, and we want you to get out now."
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kevin Parkyn said a wind change in East Gippsland about midnight on Sunday night is "very problematic when it comes to fires and the landscape".
"It's a very serious life-threatening situation. Make no mistake about it," he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews echoed Emergency Victoria's advice, tweeting that visitors should leave the area and avoid travelling there on Monday.
People in Goongerah and Martins Creek were also told to evacuate on Sunday as a bushfire burning east toward their communities was still out of control.
A watch and act warning remained in place for Goongerah, Martins Creek, Nurran, Sardine Creek and Errinundra, which states "leaving now is the safest option" before conditions change.
A total fire ban has been declared statewide on Monday.
Extreme fire danger conditions are forecast for all regions except East Gippsland and the North East, which are expected to face severe danger levels.
The combination of heat, dryness and strong wind will fuel the nasty fire conditions, coupled with the wind change expected overnight.
More than 70 helicopters and planes will be working on Monday if conditions allow.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was in Sydney announcing compensation for NSW volunteers on the fire grounds, told reporters other states were also on his mind.
"We are seeing a real difficult situation emerging in Victoria where we know of the weather conditions particularly changing over the next few days," he said on Sunday.
"I want to assure Australians outside New South Wales ... our attention is equally there and ensuring the coordinated effort across states and territories is being put in place."
The temperature is expected to soar into the 40s across Victoria on Monday.
Australian Associated Press