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Rain across fire-ravaged Victoria will be ‘good and bad’

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Storms expected to lash parts of central and eastern Victoria today could bring some good news for firefighting efforts.

Storms expected to lash parts of central and eastern Victoria today could bring some good news for firefighting efforts, as more than a dozen blazes continue burning in the state.

But heavy rainfall could also bring challenges for fire-ravaged regions, namely the risk of debris washing into waterways and landslides.

There were 16 fires burning in Victoria late on Saturday, predominantly in the East Gippsland and the northeastern alpine regions.

A blaze was also burning out-of-control on French Island at Western Port in southern Victoria.

An emergency warning - the highest alert level - had been issued about 4:30pm for the fire at the island's Ridge Track, before being downgraded to advice level about six hours later.

"You should continue to stay informed and monitor conditions," the advice warning read.

Authorities earlier downgraded emergency warnings in Victoria's alpine region despite difficult fire conditions overnight.

Storms are expected to develop in Victoria this afternoon, particularly in the central and eastern regions, as a low pressure trough moves across from NSW.

They will bring rain, high moisture levels and thunder to some fire areas, particularly the alpine region.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron said that is good news in one sense for fire-ravaged landscapes, but may be troublesome in another.

"Rainfall runoff can actually contain a lot of debris and that could get washed into waterways and across roads as well, so at the same time increasing the risk of landslides," he said.

"There's good and bad associated with this activity."

Rainfall totals of about 5mm to 10mm are expected, but some areas could have totals of up to 50mm.

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"It does look like that rain could be intense, in some parts of the state at least," Mr Efron said.

The latest warnings come as a registration service was established for people who fled Mallacoota, Genoa and Gipsy Point and want to return now conditions have improved.

When it is safe to do so, emergency services and the Australian Defence Force will begin flights or escorted road transport into Mallacoota and surrounds, Victoria Police have confirmed.

Incident management specialists from the US and Canada arrived at Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning, ahead of being deployed to fires in the northeast and East Gippsland.

Also arriving from the US was the first of four large air tankers, which are set to be positioned strategically around the country over the next 50 days.

"These aircraft have the capability to deploy across Australia, providing infrastructure protection and laying retardant lines to limit the spread of the fires. They are a truly national capability," Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council CEO Stuart Ellis said in a statement.

MALLACOOTA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 02: DELWP ( The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning ) and CFA ( Country Fire Authority ) Crews monitor fires and begin back burns between the towns of Orbost and Lakes Entrance in east Gipplsland  on January 02, 2020 in Australia. The HMAS Choules docked outside of Mallacoota this morning to evacuate thousands of people stranded in the remote coastal town following fires across East Gippsland which have killed one person and destroyed dozens of pro

A contingent from the Fiji Military Force will also arrive in Melbourne this afternoon to start induction training before being deployed to East Gippsland, where a group from the Papua New Guinea Defence Force is already at work.

The arriving 54 personnel will be welcomed by the local Fijian community.

So far the blazes have burnt through more than 1.5 million hectares, 387 residential homes and 602 non-residential buildings.

Five men have also died during the fires.

-With AAP

Source: 9News

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