THOUSANDS of country Victorians have run out of household water as more than 400 bushfires burn across the state.
Victoria is bone dry with virtually no rain falling this year in what is shaping as the driest summer on record in some areas.
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Homeowners who rely on rainwater tanks or dams for drinking and washing water have run dry.
Firefighters who have been battling giant blazes for weeks say only widespread rain will end the threat.
Long-range forecasters say there is little chance of any significant rain for weeks.
While rainwater tanks are brimming at Ballarat and Birchip after thunderstorms that dumped more than 50mm in some places, the rest of the state remains parched.
The Bureau of Meteorology is not expecting any general rain for Victoria in the next week although East Gippsland remains a chance for some relief.
Just 1mm of rain has fallen in central Victoria this year, with some farmers saying their own records show they are experiencing their single longest, sustained dry spell over anything suffered during the long drought.
High average temperatures and drying winds have made the situation worse.
The Country Fire Authority is battling hundreds of bushfires, most ignited by lightning.
"The fuel is so dry it doesn't take too much for the fire to run," CFA spokesman Gerard Scholten said.
"The big difference between the drought and now is the large amount of vegetation we have.
"We need close to 20 to 30mm of rain to put them out, there is not a firefighting force big enough in the world to put them out by hand."
Eighty-two fires were still burning yesterday with 25 still out of control.
"It has been a very active fire period in many areas of the state and the emergency services have been kept very busy," Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.
At Mirranatwa in Victoria's southwest, firefighters saved several houses and sheds this week as three Grampians fires converged into one blaze across about 8900ha of bush and farmland.
About 200 DSE, CFA and Parks Victoria firefighters with 17 tankers, 14 aircraft, graders and bulldozers battled through a wind change to focus on asset protection as the fire threatened houses.
Firefighters were still fighting the now slow-moving Grampians fire yesterday as it continued to burn in a northwest direction into the Victoria Range.
One home was destroyed and another damaged in grass fires in Melbourne's northern suburbs on Monday.
In the alpine region the Harrietville blaze, where two firefighters died last week, had burnt through 31250ha but rain and cool weather has dampened the fire activity.
In Gippsland, Licola is now surrounded by fires on both the northern and western side, after several new blazes were ignited from lightning strike on Saturday.
The new fire, near Mount Clear, is about 10-15km north of Licola while the huge Aberfeldy fire 11km west of Licola has burnt 87,000ha and is active.