'Leave now': Halls Gap residents urged to go before weather change

HALLS Gap residents have been asked to consider leaving their properties before gusty winds associated with a cool change arrive tonight.

The Country Fire Authority has issued an advice message about the Grampians fire for Halls Gap due to extreme weather conditions, with the possibility of erratic fire behaviour and spot fires.

The Grampians fire has burnt more than 55,000 hectares and destroyed 32 homes and continues to be active behind containment lines.

Horsham Incident Control Centre spokeswoman Jenny McGennisken said the fire conditions would be at their worst with the most intense gusts.

She said strong winds had reached 100 kilometres an hour throughout the day and the gusts would peak at 6pm.

Mrs McGennisken said the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries had been consistent in their message for people to leave early.

She said there was a community meeting in Halls Gap earlier today.

"Our message from this morning was leave and live," she said.

"It was a community meeting with a consistent message about leaving early and about deteriorating weather conditions."

Mrs McGennisken said weather conditions in Halls Gap were continuing to worsen as the day progressed.

"There's been strong winds gusting up to 100kmh for several hours, peaking at 6pm in Horsham and still with very hot temperatures," she said.

"Yes the fire is contained, but it's an active fire and it's not safe."

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