UPDATE: FIREFIGHTERS battling a blaze near Mt Hotham are bracing themselves as high winds.
The winds are expected this evening.
Close to 500 firefighters, over 100 vehicles and several aircraft have worked through the day to control the fire on ski resort Hotham Heights Village.
Earlier today rain gave some slight relief to to firefighting efforts after 8m-high flames and two spot fires from the main front threatened homes in the village overnight.
But the blaze stopped about 50m short of homes on the top of the mountain.
An Ovens Incident Control Centre spokesperson said high winds expected later this afternoon had the potential to change the current stable condition of the blaze.
A Country Fire Authority emergency warning for the area was earlier downgraded to a Watch and Act alert and is expected to remain valid until 7pm.
The alert is in place for Dargo and Omeo at the southern side of the blaze that has so far burned around 15,000ha.
Despite there being no immediate threat to homes most residents haveleft and only a few Ski Resort staff remain in the area.
Deputy incident controller Arthur Haynes said there were enough crews on the ground that would stop the fire before it impacted homes. The fire front has also burnt-out much of the fuel around the homes.
“We have plenty of crews protecting the area. At the moment it is only our crews and staff from the resort in the area. We think most residents have left but it is a matter of putting out as many warnings as we can to tell anyone who might still be here to get out.
“The fire is in really rugged terrain and we can’t get our crews there but if it does come up the mountain we have plenty of people to handle the situation.
“Today we are going to try to get at the fire with aircraft if we can.”
Mr Haynes said the main fire front was expected to catch the spot fires today but he said that did not pose a further threat to homes.
Fire crews are also battling the 80,000ha Aberfeldy fire in Gippsland.
State control centre spokesman Tony Bearzatto said a southwesterly change due at the Aberfeldy fire late on Saturday could stoke the blaze.
A fire danger rating of very high remains in place for East Gippsland, West and South Gippsland and Central regions, with the fire risk rated severe in the North Central and North East districts.
A total fire ban has been declared in the north country regions.
Mr Bearzatto urged Victorians to stay alert with large parts of the state tinder dry.
‘‘It’s important to remember that the conditions leading up to Saturday and the extended dry period that we’ve had means there is a lot of very dry material out there just waiting to burn,’’ he said.
Read more on the Herald Sun.