Grampians residents urged to leave now

AUTHORITIES have urged people to leave now in a community meeting in Dadswells Bridge.

It comes after one person died as the Northern Grampians fire raged.

Residents in Halls Gap, Pomonal, Bellfield, Lake Fyans and Lake Lonsdale have been urged to evacuate.

The tension in the air at a packed Dadswells Hall was thick as people were told the wind change, originally predicted for later this afternoon, is now predicted to hit at 2pm.

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Police Superintendent Graham Kent said the predictions told a very scary story.

"This fire is big and bad and nasty," he said.

"There's no ambiguity about the risk, it is real."

To further complicate the job for fire crews, the 2pm winds could be in addition to the previously predicted change later, which is expected to have wind gusts of 80km and dry lightning.

Superintendent Kent also confirmed there had been one death overnight in the Wartook area.

GWMWater spokesman Andrew Rose said water to Halls Gap was going to be switched over and therefore would not be drinkable.

Country Fire Authority crews were delivering bottled water to the area.

Despite the warnings from authorities some Dadswells Bridge residents had elected to stay and defend.

A clearly on-edge Daryl Deutscher was preparing to fight the fire in order to defend his home and turkey farm.

Giant Koala owner Rob McPherson said he would stay until flames began to approach his business.

"I don't wanna leave but that's just getting too close," he said.

Back at Old Dadswells town, Max Green said this was the equal worst fire he had seen.

"It's crazy mate, just crazy," he said.

As he looked at the smoke-engulfed Grampians he reflected on those who were closer to the fire front.

"There's people much worse off than us," he said

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