More than 500 firefighters and emergency workers were on the ground fighting the blazes.
CFA incident controller Brett Mitchell said the extremely hot temperatures on Monday and variable winds meant there was potential for “fires to increase in intensity and move closer to communities”.
“Temperatures will remain high overnight which will keep the fires moving,” he said.
“Conditions in East Gippsland are the driest on record and the potential for long-running fire events is high in these areas. Some fires could burn for many months.”
Mr Mitchell said fire crews were being placed strategically across the Gippsland, along with heavy machinery, to respond to existing fires and any new fire break outs. Asset protection was also underway in Buchan and Tambo Crossing, to protect private property and key infrastructure.
Marg Brick, the owner of the Buchan Caves Hotel, said visibility in the centre of Buchan was “the worst it’s been” in two weeks because of the smoke.
She said waterbombing helicopters were present on Monday afternoon to battle the flames in remote bush land and thick shrub, but many residents are used to the fire threat as they “live in this environment all the time”.
“It is all smoky and stinky today, you wouldn’t hang your washing out. Sitting outside, it’s pretty revolting out here,” Mrs Brick told The Age.
“There’s not a breath of wind, so we’re feeling so lucky and grateful it’s not a windy day, or we’d be in real trouble.
“We have a farm … and we’re a little surrounded by bush. The hardest thing for [the CFA] and DEWLP guys is they can’t go in because the bush is so dense, so they’ve been waterbombing it.”
She said Parks Victoria had closed parks and reserves near the fire, meaning fewer tourists were passing through the area.
Another bushfire directly north of Buchan was also out of control, travelling in a easterly direction towards Timbarra Settlement, the residents of which have been urged to evacuate.
The two out of control fires were near two other active fires in the area.
The East Gippsland region was rated as a “very high” fire risk today, but a total fire ban was not in place, as weather in the area was not predicted to be as dry and gusty as other parts of the state.
Total fire bans were declared for the north of the state on Monday with V/Line trains running to an altered, extreme heat timetable.
There was an air quality warning issued for towns across Northern Victoria, including Bendigo, Shepparton, Beechworth and Mansfield on Monday, due to smoke from fires in NSW and Victoria.
Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul is a reporter for The Age.