A FIRE that spanned 3000 hectares to the west, south and east of Horsham destroyed eight houses and Horsham Golf Club on Saturday.
Fire teams were still assessing the damage yesterday but confirmed extensive property loss including sheds, fencing and stock animals.
A power pole in Remlaw Road, west of Horsham, sparked the fire at 12.30pm on Saturday.
For complete coverage of the Remlaw fire, see the eight-page special in Monday's Wimmera Mail-Times.
The fire headed south-west, leaping the Wimmera Highway and Wimmera River, then south-east to the golf course. It headed east through Haven before a strong wind change drove the flames north-east across the Western Highway at 6pm to Drung and Lubeck.
The fire burned houses to the ground and left neighbouring buildings untouched.
Horsham CFA incident controller Dale Russell said fire chiefs declared the fire contained at 1.30pm yesterday.
He said more than 400 firefighters battled the blaze at 3pm on Saturday.
He said 100 firefighters doused burning trees and stumps yesterday.
Mr Russell said it was the fastest moving fire he had ever seen.
``It was an uncontrollable fire,'' he said.
Deputy incident controller Geoff Evans, of Department of Sustainability and Environment, told more than 200 people at a community meeting in Horsham Town Hall yesterday that Saturday's conditions were worse than Ash Wednesday and the Stawell and Mt Lubra fires three years ago.
``Saturday was one out of the box and let's hope it's another 100 years before we get another day like that,'' he said.
``We're all in this together and from a statewide perspective, we can count ourselves very lucky. At least we haven't lost any lives.''
Wimmera Health Care Group's after-hours nursing co-ordinator Meg Huebner said up to 30 people, mostly firefighters, attended Wimmera Base Hospital on Saturday to be treated for smoke inhalation and foreign bodies in eyes.
Department of Primary Industries' Chris Sounness said the fire affected about 350 property owners.
He asked people who had property affected by the fire to call 5362 2331 so their damage could be recorded.
Mayor Bernard Gross said the fire was an added burden on Horsham, with many people affected by 12 years of drought.
``This is the last thing we need, but I'm extremely thankful that the loss of property is not higher and there was no loss of life,'' he said.
``The volunteers, fire brigade, SES and Powercor did a magnificent job to save so much and get services back on so quick.''
Cr Gross said he was confident the community would bounce back.
Horsham Rural City Council will open a recovery centre at Horsham Civic Centre in Roberts Avenue on Monday to support people affected by the fire.
Community services and enterprise manager Angela Murphy said the council, and other agencies such as Centrelink, Wimmera Uniting Care and the Salvation Army, would provide information on where people could seek help.
``There will be information about grant assistance and information about personal support,'' she said.
Ms Murphy said people that wanted to make donations could register at the recovery centre.
State education department officials said the Horsham West Primary School at Haven and bus routes would be open from today.
But they warned parents keep an eye on children, who were particularly stressed by the fire.
CFA community education co-ordinator Jenny McGennisken said people in both the fire-affected area and in Horsham, needed to remain diligent and check gardens.
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