Eight fires have broken out in the Australian state of Victoria

A new series of fires have broken out in the Australian state of Victoria, fuelled by hot dry conditions and northerly winds.

RMS issues the following update:

As of Monday February 23 at 10:00 UTC, there are a total of 8 fires burning across the state, the majority of which are located in towns east and southeast of Melbourne. These 8 fires include 4 new fires which broke out on Monday 23 February, as well as the four major fires still burning from the 7 February outbreak: the Kilmore-Murrindindi Complex North, the Kilmore-Murrindindi Complex South, the Bunyip Ridge fire and the WPNP Cathedral fire at Wilson’s Promontory. Other areas to have been affected are located within central Victoria and Gippsland. So far the series of wildfires that began on Saturday 7 February has killed 210 people and destroyed over 1,800 houses, with up to 2,000 more homes left uninhabitable and an estimated 7,500 people homeless. A further 1,300 buildings were also razed by the fires, including schools, shops and offices. Officials don’t expect the death toll to climb much higher.

The latest upsurge in wildfire activity has been fuelled by a rise in temperatures as well as moderate northerly winds. The forecast for the next few days is hot and dry with light to moderate southerly winds. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a fire danger warning of high to very high for the state of Victoria for Tuesday, with an extreme fire danger warning for areas in the northwest and northeast. The Department of Sustainability and Environment have issued a total fire ban for the central, eastern, north eastern and north Western areas of Victoria.

Damage reports from the new set of fires that started over the weekend have indicated that a home at Belgrave Heights in Melbourne’s outer east has been destroyed and a primary school in Upper Ferntree Gulley is on fire. More than 100 people have evacuated their homes in Enoch Point as the Kilmore-Murrindindi North complex fire threatens the area.