Bushfire destroys 70 homes tennis ball sized embers fall in Tathra

Two cottages have been destroyed by fire in Melbourne's outer east

Authorities said some 69 houses were destroyed and a further 39 were damaged and 30 caravans or cabins were also wiped out in Tathra, where residents fled to the beach on Sunday to avoid the flames as flying embers quickly carried the firefront forward.

"Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley told the ABC: "(The fires) still have hot spots in them and we still have wind, but nowhere near the wind speeds over the last 24 hours".

Victorian Emergency Services Minister James Merlino said most of the fires were started by a lightning front that went through the region, but investigators would make "a full determination of the causes".

The NSW Rural Fire Service says the 1000-hectare blaze is still out of control.

The threat was downgraded late on Sunday night after a southerly change helped ease conditions, but a great deal of damage had already been done.

Communication were affected after a mobile phone tower collapsed, making it hard to determine how many people remained in the town.

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There'll be no rest for firefighters as the fire "remains very active and needs to be contained and consolidated today", Mr Fitzsimmons said.

"I think we'll hear in days to come some of the dramatic experiences people have had this afternoon", he said yesterday.

Several homes and sheds have been destroyed, and hundreds of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes, according to local media.

The destructive blaze destroyed dozens of properties and was one of 26 bush and grass fires burning across the state on Sunday.

"This is a very dire and devastating situation for all involved", a post on the park's Facebook page said.

While the RFS had warned it was too unsafe for Tathra locals to leave the area, some residents were evacuated to Bega.

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She says authorities are assessing damage to critical infrastructure including water, sewerage and roads.

'There are no reports of any loss of life, so it will be very much about trying to track these people down, ' Ms McBain told AAP.

The blaze tore through its front office and reception area but management wasn't able to confirm what other parts had been affected.

Tathra Public School, Bega High School, Tanja Public School and Bournda Environmental Education Centre will all be closed on Monday.

In Tathra, about 450km (280 miles) south of Sydney, four people were treated for smoke inhalation and one firefighter was injured, authorities said.

Above: A fire burns structures in Tathra, New South Wales. "All of our agencies, all service providers will be here for the long haul to get over this significant fire event", Mr Andrews said.

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Corangamite Shire Mayor Jo Beard, whose council covers the Cobden area, said residents and farmers were trying to be fearless as they waited to hear the extent of the damage.

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