A former Clutha district man living in bushfire-ravaged Victoria watched in horror on Saturday night as a "fireball" loomed on the horizon.

As Scott McHaffie's Healesville home of four years appeared to be in line with a rapidly approaching fire front he watched from his roof as surrounding mountains erupted in flame. Only good luck and the whim of the weather saved his town from direct attack.

The former Popotunoa, near Clinton, man said it had been expected the small town only 60 kilometres east of Melbourne's central business district, in the heart of the winemaking Yarra Valley region, would come under direct attack from the Victoria fires and it was placed on an urgent threat level with residents warned to watch out for ember attacks.

However, speaking to The Southland Times yesterday after taking a break from work to fill his gutters with water and turn sprinklers on around his home, Mr McHaffie said the threat to the town had eased because of the cooler weather but fire fronts nearby continued to burn.

The township had been surrounded by fires on Saturday, including the blazes that destroyed Kinglake a 25-minute drive to the northwest and Maryville the same distance to the northeast.

The loss of life in both towns had touched him and everyone he knew, he said. "Everyone's got a connection to someone who is deceased or affected."

Buildings in Chum Creek, 8km away, had been destroyed on Saturday and Healesville had been put on high alert, he said.

The warning was enough to ensure most evacuated, including his wife and two sons, but for those in the path of the flames there was little hope in the face of an inferno the likes of which no-one had ever seen, he said.

"I was on the roof of my house ... the height of this fireball that came through on Saturday just ate everything," he said.

"For the people who died by the time they saw it coming it was too late. They piled into their cars, but it was too late."

Mr McHaffie remained at his home until Sunday to protect it before deciding to leave and check on it throughout the week, he said.

"I waited until 10 or 11pm on Sunday night ... I thought 'bugger it, I'm getting out of here'.

"At this stage we're lucky but it's a wait-and-see time."

Mr McHaffie is sales manager for tractor supplier Agco Australia and has lived in Australia for 12 years.