FIREFIGHTERS were called out to more than 50 spot fires across the North East and Riverina yesterday caused by lightning strikes.
With similar hot and stormy conditions predicted until at least Friday, authorities expect more challenges ahead.
The biggest North East blaze burnt about 6ha at Mount Murramarangbong, near Kergunyah, while there was 3ha blaze near Allans Flat and a small fire at Nug Nug.
The Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment also used firebombing helicopters to
tackle a 1ha fire near Marcus Creek Road, north of Yackandandah, as the mercury peaked at 37.3 degrees, ending a record run of five consecutive days above 40 degrees.
Late in the afternoon, fresh lightning strikes sparked more fires near Beechworth, North Wangaratta and Tangambalanga.
North of the Murray River, three larger fires kept emergency workers busy in the Tumut area, burning about 150ha in total.
CFA operations officer Nigel Parsons said the wind had mostly been on the side of the firefighters in Kergunyah.
“The only thing that will affect that is if the wind picks up strongly and it (crosses) our containment line,” he said.
“We’re just going to be very wary and we’ll continue to patrol.”
Mr Parsons said it was going to be a busy few days ahead for North East firefighters, with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees and isolated thunderstorms expected across the region.
“We’re planning for at least a four-day offensive,” he said.
“We’re conscious of our crews’ fatigue levels so we encourage them, once we’ve got things under control, to go home and sleep and prepare for another onslaught.
“The people we’ve got are very committed to the local community and will do their best to prevent further outbreaks.”
Mr Parsons said no homes had been threatened.
Firefighters recommend residents clean up fine fuels around their homes, have firefighting equipment and an independent water supply ready, and check everyone in the family has suitable clothing to protect them from radiant heat.