HOMES near Ballarat were destroyed and seven people treated in hospital after an out-of-control grass fire swept through Snake Valley on Tuesday night.
Authorities rushed to contain the blaze - one of at least 13 fires burning in the state on Tuesday night - which grew quickly to about 1150 hectares.
Blaze near Ballarat destroys homes
Homes near Ballarat are destroyed and seven people treated in hospital after an out-of-control grass fire sweeps through Snake Valley.
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A Ballarat Base Hospital spokeswoman said seven people had been treated in the emergency department after the fire hit Snake Valley, about 30 kilometres from Ballarat.
Residents of the town said two homes were believed to have been lost in the fire.
''We have lost a couple of homes,'' said a man who did not want to be named. ''I can see it from the hotel with the smoke four to five kilometres away.''
Historical homestead Carngham Station, a grandiose two-storey brick villa set on more than 2000 hectares with a 30-hectare lake, and the capacity for 15,000 merinos, 400 beef cattle, and 150 horses, has been destroyed by the fire.
The property sits to the north of Station Lane, and was left a smoldering shell by the flames.
Another building at the southern end of the property's driveway, referred to as the gatehouse, was also destroyed.
By Wednesday morning it had emerged that at least four homes, as well as 10 sheds and outbuildings, had been destroyed in the region.
Arson has been ruled out in the Snake Valley fire. A CFA spokesman told Sky news that the fire was started by a spark from a farmer’s car as he drove across a paddock.
A spokesman from the state control centre said there was smoke across the Western Highway on Wednesday morning, but it was open for drivers.
Residents in Burrumbeet who were advised to leave their homes have been told it is safe to return, but have been advised to monitor the situation.
While the grass fire has been contained, finally coming to rest just north of Carngham, emergency services worked through Tuesday night to assess damage to property, clear roads and ensure flames do not flare again.
Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said a father and son had been taken to hospital with superficial radiation burns to their hands and face. They had arrived at the local golf club after fleeing their home. The men were treated at the hospital but were expected to be discharged, a hospital spokeswoman said.
She said other patients had been treated in the emergency department for smoke inhalation and eye complaints.
A Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said the fire had been contained just after 9pm but was continuing to burn within a 17-kilometre perimeter.
Almost 60 tankers, trucks and vehicles remained at the firefront overnight.
The fire started on Tuesday afternoon, and the cause was unknown. Manned roadblocks remained in place on Tuesday night as heavy smoke hovered over the area.
Mr Mullen said extra crews had been put on duty and there were also staff at the staging areas and at the relief centre set up at the Wendouree Sports and Netball Centre. Almost 400 residents from the nearby farming community of Carngham were evacuated.
The state’s largest fire remains at Kentbruck, where light drizzle overnight helped firefighters bring the large blaze near Victoria’s western border under control. Seven thousand hectares of the 9000 hectare fire has been controlled, including 1150 hectares of pine and blue gum plantation.
The Portland-Nelson Road has reopened but the fire, which flared up on Friday, is expected to burn for several days.
North-eastern Victoria was also on high alert with wind speeds reaching 60km/h and temperatures in the low 40s.