20 Victoria fires out of control

Last updated 20:18 10/02/2014
Fairfax Australia

A blaze along Mickelham road, north-west of Kilmore, is the most serious of about 25 fires burning around Victoria, according to Premier Denis Napthine.

Bushfires grip Victoria, Australia

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Victoria Premier Denis Napthine says more bushfire education and refuges are needed for communities on Melbourne's fringe after homes were lost in Victoria's fire emergency.

Seven houses have been confirmed completely destroyed with the main impact on property happening in Melbourne fringe suburbs  Gisborne, Mickleham and Warrandyte.

The Mickleham Road blaze in the city's north remained the most  dangerous fire in the state throughout Monday.

Dr Napthine said the government needs to look at more refuges on  Melbourne's fringe.

''We certainly need to look at the opportunity for safer places  and refuges in outer urban areas,'' he told ABC Radio.

Victoria has four registered community fire refuges, three of  which were opened as part of a pilot program following the royal  commission into the Black Saturday blazes.

After visiting fires at Gisborne, Warrandyte and Mickleham on Monday, Dr Napthine said the situation in Mickleham remained very  active and dangerous.

He also has railed against people who deliberately lit fires on Victoria's worst bushfire risk day since Black Saturday, saying he  couldn't stomach the thought of it.

At least 14 grass and scrub fires lit during the height of the  emergency on Sunday are being probed by arson squad detectives.

So far they have found nine were deliberately lit.

''To think of any lighting of fires on days like yesterday is  just absolutely unbelievable in the extreme,'' Dr Napthine said.

''I can't imagine who would do such a thing.

''Putting lives at risk in those circumstances, and putting the  lives of our firefighters at risk is something I just cannot  stomach.''

Dr Napthine said it was premature to make any conclusions about  investigations into the source of blazes.

The community has learnt a lot of lessons since fires destroyed 1886 homes and killed 173 Victorians five years ago, Dr Napthine  said, but he stressed continuing education was needed.

''Radiant heat can and does kill,'' he said.

''People in some of those outer urban areas need to better  understand how you need to dress appropriately with safe clothing  on.

'If you're going to be involved anywhere near the flame, dress  appropriately.''

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