Officials have confirmed that 98 homes have been lost at Wye River, west of Lorne, and 18 at nearby Separation Creek, as the fires on Victoria's west coast continue to burn.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has flown over the fire zone and spoke after a community meeting in Apollo Bay, where many residents and holiday makers have been evacuated. "It's kind of confirmed for us just how hot, just how volatile, just how intense this fire was, burning right to the water's edge," he told the ABC earlier today. "I'm here to show that all Victorians stand with the communities of Wye River, Sep Creek as well, and others who are doing it very, very tough at the moment."
"The State Government stands ready to provide whatever support, whatever the resources the council and others need to make sure that we can rebuild and support and empower people through what will be a very challenging process, not for weeks and months but indeed for years," the Premier said.
Government grants of $1,300 will be available to those who have lost their homes or are unable to return, and the insurance industry will be able to escalate its response after the area was declared a "catastrophe."
The fire threat has been downgraded but Lorne residents have been warned to remain alert.
Earlier today, organisers of Falls Music and Arts Festival met with with members of the CFA, Victorian Police, Emergency Management Victoria and the Surf Coast Shire.
"First and most importantly, our hearts and thoughts are with our neighbours and local communities in the Lorne area who continue to deal with this heartbreaking situation," said Falls Festival co-producer Jessica Ducrou.
In a statement released just minutes ago, festival organisers underlined their commitment to the safety of their patrons and other friends, and outlined their past 24 hours securing another venue for the event to continue.
"We are really excited and thankful to announce that our good friends at A Day On The Green have helped us secure a new venue for Falls Lorne, for this year only. Ticket holders will be welcoming in 2016 at the Mount Duneed Estate on Pettavel Road, just north of Torquay ... everything you know and love about Falls will be ready and waiting for you" the statement reads. Mount Duneed Estate has hosted several A Day On The Green concerts, including Sting and Paul Simon earlier this year.
The fire, which has so far burned more than 2,200 hectares, has not yet been brought under control, although hundreds of emergency services personnel and firefighters have been working tirelessly. Victoria Police are asking anyone wanting to enquire about property in the fire-affected area to call 52329400 to register. For updates on the emergency warning that remains in effect, please head to emergency.vic.gov.au.