Firefighters contain destructive bushfire
Firefighters have brought a large bushfire under control in Central Victoria, but not before the fire destroyed 550 hectares in four hours.
The blaze ruined cereal crops and grass stubble at Cope Cope, about 130 kilometres north-west of Bendigo.
The Country Fire Authority said no property has been lost, but is advising residents from Cope Cope, Gooroc and Coonooer West to check their bushfire survival plans and monitor conditions.
Six water-bombing aircraft and 29 trucks were needed to contain the fire this afternoon. Ten crews remain on the scene.
Temperatures in the state's Mallee region were in the mid-30s on Thursday, with the nearby town of Charlton reaching 34.3 degrees at 3.01pm.
A CFA spokeswoman said the higher than average rainfall this year had caused an increased fuel load for the current fire season.
"It's probably is one of the busiest fire seasons we've had in the last few years," she said.
"We've already seen an increased amount of grassfires and had a few days of total fire bans in districts and severe fire danger ratings."
Meanwhile, bushfires in the state's east continue to burn, but none are threatening property. CFA crews are monitoring small bushfires at Bendoc and at the Lind National Park. A fire at Newry was contained to about 10 hectares earlier in the day.