Andrew Clarke could do nothing but watch as his
© Channel 9
Andrew Clarke could do nothing but watch as his life’s work went up in flames.
Incredible vision from the fire front shows how painstakingly difficult fighting a raging bushfire can be.

The Metropolitan Fire Brigade shared footage from Garfield North, 68km southeast of the Melbourne CBD, where the Bunyip State Park fire raged out of control.

"This is what firefighters faced on the ground," the MFB wrote.





Strong, swirling winds carried thick smoke across the path of the blaze as it jumped from tree to tree.

It was more of the same today, despite cooler temperatures. A fire is burning close to the town of Dargo, 350km east of Melbourne where a separate fire is threatening homes and businesses. Residents in Black Snake Creek, Cowa, Dargo, Hawkhurst, Miowera and Peter the Swede have been told it's too late to leave and they must take shelter.

A staff member at the Dargo Hotel told the Herald Sun: "It's like (the fire) is trying to surround us."

RAIN, WINDS TO HIT VICTORIAN FIRE AREAS

Sweeping heavy rain and thunderstorms could both help and hinder fire crews battling blazes across Victoria.

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for East Gippsland and North East districts — and could provide much relief to firefighters battling the blaze in Dargo.

The storm will bring strong winds and heavy rains and could lead to flash flooding in some areas.

But those battling the Bunyip fire may not see any relief until early on Wednesday morning, with the cool change predicted to arrive then. With the storms comes the danger of dry lightning which could cause flare ups in areas already affected by the fire — and crews will be on high alert overnight.

BUSHFIRES THREATEN MORE HOMES

Emergency warnings are being updated by the minute as dozens of fires burn across Victoria.

There is currently a Watch and Act alert in place for a bushfire 1.6km south west of Dargo and two other located north west of Dargo.


The fire closest to Dargo has slowed, according to Vic Emergency.

Further warnings have been issued for Billabong, Black Snake Creek, Budgee Budgee, Cowa, Crooked River, Gibbs, Hawkhurst, Howittville, Maguires, Miowera, Peter the Swede, Shepherdson, Talbotville, Waterford, Winchester, Wongungarra.

A bushfire continues to burn out of control 6.5km southeast of Licola. The fire is active on all edges, and has already burnt about 17,000 hectares.

Ground crews and machinery are working to build firewalls to protect the township from the encroaching flames. Licola Road has been shut off to all unauthorised people.

A watch and act warning is active for people in Crookayan, Glencairn, Glenfalloch, Licola, Licola North, Sargood and Worrowing.

Firefighters in five vehicles are also responding to a small building fire in Carrums Down.

The fire are Bunyip State park is still burning out of control, travelling in a Westerly direction towards Beenak, Gembrook, Mount Burnett, Nar Nar Goon North, Pakenham Upper, Whites Corner.

These towns have been issued with a Watch and Act alert, and those who have left their homes have been told not to return.

Earlier today a Watch and Act alert was also issued for the areas around Avenel and Tarcome, with the advice that a fire was travelling towards Wicketts Hill Road.

Full information about the affected areas can be obtained by listening to local radio and viewing the Vic Emergency website.

ENTIRE TOWNSHIP 'WIPED OFF THE MAP'

Jinks Creek Winery in Tonimbuk was destroyed
© Stuart McEvoy
Jinks Creek Winery in Tonimbuk was destroyed after a bushfire.
An entire township has been all but "wiped out" by devastating bushfires in Victoria's southeast.

Tonimbuk, which borders Bunyip State Park, was in the direct path of a massive fire that swept through over the weekend.

A map of the area from the Country Fire Authority shows a large section of black over the township.


Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight is from Tonimbuk, 70km from the Melbourne CBD. He told 3AW radio this morning that he spent the weekend trying to protect the family property but "the place has just been wiped clean".

Network 10 journalist Candice Wyatt tweeted: "It's believed the township of Tonimbuk has been all but wiped off the map".



At the last census, Tonimbuk was home to 208 people. Winemaker Andrew Clarke is among them.

As bushfires ripped through the region, he could do nothing but stare at a screen in horror and disbelief at what he was watching on live TV.

He was sat at a cafe with other relieved locals, who had managed to escape the inferno engulfing their homes when he saw the aerial footage of his Tonimbuk vineyard explode into a ball of flames.

The Jinks Creek Winery was not just his life's work. It was his family home and also home to his horses.

He'd left it all behind late on Saturday and got out with his wife and kids. Mr Clarke even defied orders to rescue his two dogs, Blue and Pappy. But that was all he could do.

"We're homeless," Mr Clarke told The Australian, bleakly, after watching his life's work go up in flames.

"It's gone, the house too, it's all gone. We've got horses, they're probably dead."

He told The Age he was the first winemaker to plant a vineyard in West Gippsland in the 1970s after he received the second-ever winemaking scholarship from the Victorian Wine Industry Association in 1979.

(Read more here)