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Fresh fire alert for Victorians -

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Reporter: Samantha Donovan

ELEANOR HALL: It's another day of high fire danger in parts of Victoria.

Hundreds of people from the Warburton area, north-east of Melbourne, are leaving their homes and
heading for relief centres in response to forecasts of hot and windy conditions this afternoon.

Samantha Donovan is at the relief centre in Lilydale and she joins us there now.

So Sam, what is the scene there at the centre?

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Well, Eleanor the centre, which is the local football and cricket club, is
filling up very quickly. I would say there would be at least a couple of hundred people here now.
They have made the trip down the hill from Warburton and townships of the Yarra Valley this

These are the communities between Melbourne and Marysville which as we know was wiped out in the
Black Saturday fires. Just ahead of me there is a very long line of people waiting to speak to the
Red Cross. That is where they have got to register the fact that they have left home and give any
contact details that they have got.

Also a big line for people looking for temporary accommodation. A lot of these people have been in
limbo for a couple of weeks now. I spoke with one couple this morning who barely spent a night at
home for the last fortnight.

They have been staying with friends or even in the car because they have been so worried about the
fire threat so they were definitely looking into temporary accommodation today.

Another person I spoke to this morning was Dawn Brown who evacuated from Yarra Junction this

DAWN BROWN: We started packing up last night our caravan and because Ray is on medication, we
thought we best come early not later.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: What sort of things did you pack up to bring with you?

DAWN BROWN: Two of my grandmothers, they have both gone to heaven. One had a egg china plate for
boiled eggs and the other one a two-handled cup and saucer. Three cups for my three, cup and
saucers for my granddaughters. A couple of pigs and then just clothes and sheets and towels.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Photos? Most people always want to bring photos.

DAWN BROWN: Certainly photos. Our wedding video and I jumped when I was 50 - tandem jump so I
brought that video too.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Have you been on alert for the last couple of weeks?

DAWN BROWN: Yeah. We've had lots and lots of embers for the last couple of weeks. Ray was actually
working up in Kinglake on the Thursday and Friday beforehand so all his painting gear is still up
in Kinglake but the house is still standing but all his painting gear is still up in Kinglake.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: How stressful has it been the last couple of weeks?

DAWN BROWN: We've probably been luckier than some. We personally don't know of anyone that has lost
homes or lives but we know of friends that have lost friends and homes, quite close friends but
yeah, lots and lots of embers at the front door and at the back door so plenty of buckets and mops
in case of.

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Did the fact that Saturday the 7th wreaked such devastation make it easier for
you to make the decision to evacuate today?

DAWN BROWN: I think so. I would have liked probably to stay a bit longer but Ray says no, we're
going and we're going now.

ELEANOR HALL: That is Dawn Brown from Yarra Junction.

Now Sam, she was just saying that yes, it did make it easier for her to make that decision whether
to stay or go. Are you finding that many people are leaving their homes rather than staying and
fighting because of what happened a couple of weeks ago?

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Yes, definitely Eleanor. I think speaking to people here, if you had said to them
three weeks ago, you know, in this situation would you stay and defend your home or leave, they
would definitely have been more inclined to say they would stay and defend but the awful events of
two weekends ago has really hit home and most people are saying, look, if I lose my house, I lose
my house but I want to keep myself and my children safe.

ELEANOR HALL: And what are authorities saying about how severe is the risk today? How many homes
are threatened?

SAMANTHA DONOVAN: Well, I guess there are really hundreds of homes in this area. The big concern
this afternoon - a very gusty northerly wind. Temperatures too expected in the mid-thirties so
certainly not as warm as we had on Black Saturday but the winds are the big concern this afternoon
and then later on in the day we are expecting a south-westerly change I believe as well, south
south-westerly, so the winds are the big things to worry about this afternoon.

But a Country Fire Authority has just told me that they have hundreds of people on stand-by and
working on containment. They have been doing that all weekend in the hope that they can avert any
serious threats to these towns this afternoon.

ELEANOR HALL: Samantha Donovan at the relief centre in Lilydale. Thank you.