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Vic: Firefight efforts ramped up ahead of hotter weather change

21 Feb 2009 8:34 AM

MELBOURNE, Feb 21 AAP - Firefighters battling four major Victorian bushfires are building control lines and back burning ahead of hotter weather conditions expected on Monday.

The four super blazes - the Kilmore East-Murrindindi North and South complexes, the Bunyip State Park and Wilson's Promontory fires - continued to burn out of control on Saturday, though authorities said there was no immediate threat to nearby townships or property.

Department of Sustainability and Environment spokeswoman Nina Cullen said conditions on Saturday were forecast to remain mild.

Light drizzle patches around the Mount Vinegar area, in the Kilmore East-Murrindindi South Complex, would do little for the firefighting effort, she said.

"It's certainly no significant rain event and the drizzle is unlikely to have any impact.

"The weather forecast is for higher temperatures and hotter weather on Sunday and particularly Monday so we're gearing up and preparing for those conditions."

On Victoria's south coast, 100 firefighters and aerial waterbombing helicopters are fighting a 15,000-hectare blaze on Wilson's Prom, the state's most southerly point.

Ms Cullen said the main focus was to protect key areas, including Tidal River.

"There's been significant work to slow those fire boundaries," Ms Cullen said.

"Over the next few days, there will be a big focus on ... building control lines and increasing back burning work before Monday."

On Friday, the death toll from the Black Saturday fires rose to 209, after police confirmed another death in Kinglake.

The Victorian Coroner's Office and police are trying to identify remains found at various places throughout the state.

The worst-hit town is Marysville with 45 dead, followed by Strathewen with 42 fatalities, Kinglake with 38 and St Andrews 22.

AAP sjm/jpm/ss