ONE of Victoria's most isolated communities will not leave if fire hits. They will stay and defend despite evacuation warnings.
Diehard residents of Licola, about 250km east of Melbourne, will stay and defend despite evacuation warnings.
The Herald Sun yesterday drove into the town which had been cut off by surrounding fire damage since 6am on Friday.
Excavators were still removing fallen trees from the road as CFA trucks were putting out small spot fires along Jamieson-Heyfield Rd.
Licola CFA captain Dennis Curley said no town was better prepared.
"We have about 30 residents here, 28 are full-time CFA members," he said.
The town has its own fire truck, bulldozers and three 20,000-litre water tanks on standby. Most residents own fire-fighting equipment.
Mr Curley said locals' lives would be put in danger if they fled down the only two narrow exit roads.
"Driving out when there is a fire is just too risky," he said. "It can be very dangerous but here is a different scenario.
"It's just a way of life up here to be ready to fight."
Earlier this week the only access to Licola was by helicopter after fallen trees blocked off the two roads.
He said if properties were threatened locals would save them.
"We're in a safe place . . . and we're prepared," he said.
Local Ralph Barraclough said the town was on alert.
"We're taking precautions, but it's just another year for us," he said.
"It's a pretty tough area.
"There is a hillbilly element up here. When people move into the area they'll learn survival skills bloody fast."
Three major fires have struck the town in the past 15 years.
On Thursday the local youth camp, Lions Club, evacuated 60 disadvantaged students because of the looming fire threat.
Thousands of hectares of land continue to burn in the region yesterday.
Read more on the Herald Sun.