Houses were under threat from wildfires again on Wednesday in eastern Victoria state where 16 houses were razed last week by blazes igniting the drought-ravaged countryside, authorities said.
"It's basically up to the back fences," of the small town of Walhalla, Country Fire Authority deputy chief officer Greg Esnouf said. Several other communities were also on high alert in the southeast Australian state.
Firefighters were consolidating containment lines ahead of hot, windy conditions predicted for Thursday, he said. A volunteer firefighter was killed when he fell from a trailer and was struck by a following vehicle in eastern Victoria last week where 16 houses burned.
Fires also destroyed four houses in the island state of Tasmania, south of Victoria last week.
Wildfires are a regular feature of Australia's hot summer months, sometimes burning through cities and towns with devastating results.