Australia's ordeal by fire is far from over amid another emergency warning in northeast Victoria early Thursday morning and an evacuation notice for residents of South Australia’s devastated Kangaroo Island.
And worse fire weather is on the way.
At 6am, Victorian authorities declared a bushfire near Wangaratta, in the state's northeast, was at emergency level. The warning applies for the towns of Bobinawarrah, Carboor, Kneebones Gap, Whorouly, Whorouly East and Whorouly South. The flames are moving in a northwesterly direction towards Carboor.
By 8am, a fire spreading in South Australia's Kangaroo Island had jumped containment lines.
Two people have been killed in the bushfires that have already wiped out 170,000 hectares of the tourist island. Overnight Wednesday, authorities ordered locals in the town of Vivonne Bay to evacuate as they fear further fatalities.
Follow real-time fire updates for South Australia here
Calm and mild weather conditions are expected across Victoria on Thursday. But it will be the last day of respite this week, the forecast prompting Premier Daniel Andrews to warn: "this is not over by a long shot"."
Extreme fire danger weather is predicted to hit on Friday. The Bureau of Meteorology on Wednesday issued an extreme fire danger warning for the north of the state on Friday, with a severe warning for the Mallee and northeast districts.
Temperatures nearing 40C are also forecast in some areas on Friday, along with northerly winds, ahead of a change in the afternoon.
It comes after a beloved father of two was named as Victoria’s third official bushfire victim.
Follow real-time Victorian fire updates here
Forest Fires Management worker Mat Kavanagh had just put out seven unattended campfires and was driving on the Goulburn Valley Highway at Thornton with a colleague when their car crashed on January 3.
Mr Kavanagh, 43, who was a local to the area, leaves behind his wife Jude and their two children.
Forest Fires Management Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said Mr Kavanagh had worked in many roles at the organisation including as a firefighter, a roads management officer and most recently in fire prevention.
“He was doing critically important work stopping new fires in the environment and we have 2800 people doing that every day right across the state,” Mr Hardman said.
“It’s a devastating loss for everybody in the sector but for those people who knew Mat it’s going to take a long time – I can’t imagine what the family are going through and what Mat’s colleagues are going through. It’s such a very sad day.”
Mick Roberts, 67, from Buchan and Maramingo Creek timber worker Fred Becker were also killed while battling Victorian bushfires in recent weeks.
It’s with great sadness that I share the news of the loss of one of our own during what has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for many. Mat Kavanagh was a dedicated member of our team for 10 years and was much loved. Our hearts go out to Mat's family and friends. pic.twitter.com/KXWIHn6UFt— Chris Hardman (@FFMVic_Chief) January 8, 2020
In NSW there was the some good news, but just a bit, as out-of-control fires continued to ravage the Snowy mountains.
As the RFS battled "out of control" blazes around Adaminaby and Goof Good, south coast residents were getting their power restored after what, in some cases, has been four or more days of darkness.
Down the road, the Bureau of Meteorology says genuine hope, predicting higher than average rainfall on the Victoria-NSW border fires.