A massive grass fire tore through farmland north of Hawkesdale yesterday, serving as a reminder for people to be vigilant as a week of hot weather hits the south-west.
About 400 hectares had burnt by 6pm last night, with two helicopters working to water bomb the area.
The grass fire, which was first reported at 1.30pm, was on property along the Penshurst-Warrnambool Road at Minhamite.
Twenty-eight trucks and a fire spotter were called to the outbreak, which was in difficult, rocky country south of Penshurst.
Initially classified as a fast-moving fire before being downgraded to slow moving, three separate properties were affected, with farmland and fences destroyed.
A watch-and-act warning was issued for Minhamite but revised at 6pm and listed as being controlled.
There were traffic management points in place at the intersection of Stonefield Lane and Gerrigerrup-Minhamite Road and the intersection of Stonefield Lane and Penshurst-Warrnambool Road.
A Country Fire Authority spokesman said the blaze was in undulating, rocky land, which was difficult for trucks to access.
“It could also cause damage to the trucks very easily,” he said.
He said the extent of damage to properties and the cause of the fire would not be known for some time
Smoke was visible yesterday from as far as Warrnambool and Mortlake.
A Minhamite resident said the fire was between 10 and 15km from her house but was travelling east.
“It’s closer to Penshurst, which is quite stony country,” she said.
“Hopefully there has been a good, quick response.
“The smoke that was there is not there now. That is just what I can see.
“We’re just lucky it’s not windy.”
Fire crews were also called to a car fire at Cobrico on the corner of Roycrofts Road and Cobden-Terang Road yesterday afternoon.
Warrnambool is expected to reach 32 today, tomorrow and on Thursday before getting to 34 on Sunday.
Bureau of Meteorology senior weather forecaster Richard Carlyon said south-west Victorians could expect fine and sunny weather for the bulk of the week.
He said it wasn’t strange to get warm days during March but it was unusual to see such a long stretch of hot days.
“There is a slow moving high-pressure system pushing northerly winds across the state,” he said.
“There are no cold fronts from the west. The only way we’ll see cooler weather is if sea breezes are stronger than forecast.”