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tion,” he said. “It took hold very quickly.”

Fire­fight­ing planes and he­li­copters fought to stop the fire front as it roared out of control to­wards the south­east.

Chop­pers dumped flame re­tar­dant on the blaze, while fire trucks were seen de­fend­ing prop­er­ties.

From the air, the scale of the fire was ev­i­dent, with burnt out pad­docks vis­i­ble for many kilo­me­tres.

Mr Crisp said the fire, spreading at about 9km/h, had cov­ered 1240ha by 4pm.

Dozens of lo­cals con­gre­gated at Lit­tle River’s oval, where au­thor­i­ties pro­vided wa­ter and com­fort.

About 10 res­i­dents headed to a re­lief cen­tre in Nor­lane. They were ex­pected to be air­con­di­tioned able to re­turn home last night.

Emer­gency Ser­vices Minister Lisa Neville said the past two days had been very dif­fi­cult for the Lit­tle River and Scots­burn com­mu­ni­ties.

“It is very hot, dry and windy. It is a re­minder to all of us that it is go­ing to be hot, it is go­ing to be dry,” Ms Neville said.

“It is a re­minder that sum­mer has hit and that we all need to be ab­so­lutely aware and have our plans in place to be ready to evac­u­ate.”

Lo­cals con­gre­gated at Lit­tle River’s oval

SAFE: Res­i­dent Shar­ron Cole gives her dog Kahlua a drink.

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