More than half of the area of the Prom has been burnt, more than 23,000ha. The upside is that seen from the air, patches within that were spared. Hopefully some wildlife have been able to take refuge and survive in those areas. Also, those areas will provide feed for the survivors until the rest regenerates.
The fires are now very close to the settlement at Tidal river and there are long term concerns for the water supply there. There have been major protection works and they're hoping they can keep it at bay.
Wildlife carers are seeing emaciated koalas, kangaroos, gliders and other species desperately searching for food in the devastated areas.
While millions of animals were killed, some survived by finding pockets of bush spared by the inferno. There were reports of hordes of animals flocking to the relative safety of private property while echidnas and wombats were burrowing into the ground.
But Healesville Sanctuary head veterinarian Rupert Baker said a lack of food was now the biggest challenge facing animals. "I went out to Steels Creek, Chum Creek and Dixons Creek and in all those places I've (treated) kangaroos and all of those kangaroos are pretty skinny as well as having burnt feet," he said.
"The main problem for a lot of these populations will be a loss of habitat.
"The koalas we've got coming in have often been really emaciated and they're hungry. Whatever food you're putting in front of them, they're eating. It's the same with the greater gliders " they need the nutrients and food straight away."
Dr Baker said it was too early to know if endangered species like the Leadbeater's possum were starving or whether their habitat had survived.
But he warned anyone thinking of feeding starving wildlife to be extremely cautious as they risked causing significant long-term damage to the environment. He said the distribution of hay to animals such as kangaroos and wombats should only be done on pastoral land where seeds would not interfere with native bush. .... <cont>
Awareness Message - Wilsons Prom Cathedral Fire 9.00am
Awareness Message - Wilsons Prom Cathedral Fire
The Wilsons Prom Cathedral fire is now estimated to be 24 800ha, and remains one kilometre from the Tidal River settlement and 6 km south of the Yanakie entrance station. There is no immediate threat to the Yanakie settlement.
Today crews have been deployed to the Yanakie Isthmus as south-west winds could cause flare-ups as the fire begins to burn close to volatile vegetation in Telegraph Swamp, adjacent to Corner Inlet.
There may be increased amounts of smoke in the area from this fire.
Road users are advised to take extra care as road travel may be hazardous due to low visibility from smoke.
Even though this fire does not currently pose a threat, people in high risk bushfire areas are reminded to have a bushfire survival plan ready to implement during the summer period.
Continue to listen to ABC or local radio for updates on this fire.
Northerly winds are expected to strengthen tomorrow night, packing gusts of up to 150 kilometres-an-hour on Tuesday.
Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin says the weather could be as bad as February 7.
"The weather forecast is for conditions that could approximate Black Saturday, or Ash Wednesday," he said.
The weather bureau's regional director, Mark Williams, says a strong wind change is forecast to follow Tuesday's gales.
"It'll be a very strong westerly change, west to south-westerly change, with winds that will persist for at least a day after that," he said.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) says the Kilmore-East Murrindindi North fire could break control lines in the extreme conditions.
Spokesman Craige Brown says the small communities near Enoch Point and Woods Point could be threatened.
"We've had ongoing problems with containment there. There is an expectation that under the wind event on Tuesday that fire will break out and make a run towards Melbourne water catchments," he said.
"We will continue tvo work on those areas, but there is an expectation of a breakout in that area."
The CFA's Russell Rees fears the gale force winds could fan fires overnight, cutting power and bringing down trees.
"To wake up in the morning to have fire on your doorstep is a terrifying thing," he said.
SES spokesman Trevor White says crews will be on standby to deal with any problems caused by downed trees and power outages.
"We stress that people should anticipate that this possibility could occur and they need to have any back-up generators tested, and know that they're working, but importantly make sure that they do have a battery operated radio or torch available so that they can monitor the situation," he said.
Extra firefighters are being called in from interstate to bolster local crews
Let's just hope that the Met were mistaken and the conditions will be milder.