25 Dec 2015

Huge fire on Australian coastline burns out of control

8:55 pm on 25 December 2015

A massive blaze is out of control on Australia's southern coastline, with houses destroyed along Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

Smoke rises from a fast-moving bushfire near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

Smoke rises from a fast-moving bushfire near the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Photo: AAP

Victorian emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley said Separation Creek had been evacuated and that the blaze had now reached houses in the area.

More than 100 firefighters are battling an out-of-control blaze, which has already burnt around 680 hectares, with fire crews on the ground being hindered by the heavily forested terrain.

Residents and holidaymakers in Lorne and nearby towns have been advised to evacuate.

Authorities are also advising people in Allenvale, Kennett River and Grey River to leave, saying Torquay and Geelong are the safest options.

The Great Ocean Road between Skenes Creek and Torquay is closed.

The fire earlier prompted evacuations from towns between Lorne and Apollo Bay on Victoria's south-west coast, including at Wye River and Separation Creek.

The chance for residents in those towns to evauate has now passed, with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) telling people to seek shelter from the fire and protect themselves.

Residents of nearby Grey River and Kennett River still have time to leave, and are urged to consider evacuating to the Apollo Bay Leisure Centre.

There are spot fires up to two kilometres ahead of the main blaze, the CFA said.

Fire crews have called in extra air resources to attack the fire, which has been burning for a week.

More than 100 firefighters and 17 aircraft are battling the blaze.

The area along the state's surf coast is a very popular spot with holidaymakers during the Christmas and New Year period.

A steady trail of cars was seen entering Apollo Bay as people in the area moved from the fire's path, with many mingling at the local beach.

South Australia has been sizzling through temperatures in the high 30s today - and into the 40s in some parts of the state - in the hottest Christmas Day in 70 years.

Adelaide was set to be recorded as hottest state capital, as temperatures there hit 38 degrees Celsius - nine degrees above average.

Other areas were expected to reach the high 30s and low 40s.

On Christmas Day, in 1945, Adelaide reached a top of 40.1 degrees.

- ABC