Large Victoria bushfire still burning

Last updated 17:24 02/02/2013

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Victorian firefighters will spend the weekend trying to contain an alpine region bushfire before hotter weather returns.

The 5700-hectare Harrietville blaze had once threatened Hotham Heights, Mount Hotham and Dinner Plain, about 400km northeast of  Melbourne.

But cooler weather has seen warnings downgraded to advice levels.

The blaze is no longer threatening communities, although scattered showers proved to hamper firefighting efforts with  waterbombing aircraft grounded due to poor weather until Saturday  afternoon.

''The rain has made things tricky. It's more of a hindrance,'' a  state control centre spokesman said on Saturday.

Fire trucks were prevented from getting closer to the bushfire with the rain making tracks too muddy and slippery, he said.

''But we have clearer weather conditions today. Aircraft will be in the air,'' he said.''We will try to get in a position where we can at least contain it before the weather spikes later in the week.''

Hotter temperatures are forecast in the region for Tuesday or Wednesday.

About 80 people had fled the area on late Thursday when the wind suddenly changed and sent spot fires over containment lines and closer to communities.

The Mount Hotham ski resort turned on its snow machines in a bid to help fire crews.

The bushfire has been burning since January 21.

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- AAP

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