Vic fire danger peaks in hot, windy conditionsBy Rhiana Whitson, Thursday January 24, 2013 - 22:14 EDT
Hundreds of fire crews have been preparing for worsening fire conditions in Gippsland and Victoria's Alpine region overnight.
The weather bureau says conditions will be worse than first expected, with north to north-westerly winds pushing flames towards towns on the southern edge of the fire front above Walhalla.
Hundreds of fire crews will be on hand to secure control lines around the fire's 400-kilometre perimeter.
The winds are expected to peak at about 6am (AEDT) Friday.
A south-westerly change in the mid-afternoon could push the blaze into the Alpine National Park.
Fire authorities say under these conditions, the fire could jump over control lines.
Some residents have left early but many are choosing to wait until they are told to evacuate - a message they could receive in the middle of the night.
Meanwhile, a number of communities in the state's north-east remain on high alert as a bushfire continues to threaten several locations in the Alpine region.
Increased wind activity is predicted in the Harrietville area, where an out-of-control fire has burnt about 1,300 hectares.
In Quandong in Melbourne's west, a water-bombing aircraft was used to contain a grassfire on Thursday afternoon.
The blaze burnt through about 140 hectares near Ballan and Ripley roads.
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
Severe thunderstorms caused damage in northeastern New South Wales and southeast Queensland on Sunday and should do so again during the next few days.
A very dangerous thunderstorm moving across south-east Queensland is heading toward Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
Several people including babies have been rescued from Lismore Base Hospital in northern New South Wales after the roof of the maternity ward collapsed.