Forty homes have been evacuated in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs after a fire that began in a nature reserve raced quickly out of control.
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) has warned people in Cheltenham, about 18 kilometres from the CBD, to prepare to evacuate.
The fire is burning at Park Road near the Cheltenham Golf Club and the local cemetery, where 90 firefighters, four helicopters and more than a dozen trucks are on the scene.
A Watch and Act message has been issued for the suburbs of Cheltenham, Beaumaris, Black Rock and Mentone.
"Residents between Park Road and Weatherall Road need to move back two streets," the emergency warning said.
"Glebe Ave residents should prepare to evacuate.
"If you live directly next to grassland quickly move two or more streets away from the fire. Grass fires are unlikely to spread past the first row of houses.
"If your home is surrounded by grasslands, and you are not in an estate, you should immediately shelter within your home. It is not safe for you to leave."
The fire is burning in a bushy parkland area of what is otherwise a built-up suburb in Melbourne's bayside district.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Brendan Angwin said the fire started in the nature fauna reserve and spread to grassland.
He said he blaze had burnt about 5 or 6 hectares and there were no reports of any lost structures. He said the fire was close to being contained.
"It burned up to the back of the school, it damaged some fences at the rear of Glebe Ave but firefighters with the support of helicopters have done an extremely good job to check this fire," he said.
"I believe it did burn through some of the grassland in the cemetery."
The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Inspector Bruce Kitchen from Victoria Police said about 40 houses were evacuated but said they may be able to return to their homes tonight.
"This could have been quite devastating if we hadn't acted quick enough and it's just a reminder to be mindful and careful in this sort of weather," he said.
Residents have been asked to stay away from the area, and shelter in place if they stayed at their properties to protect themselves from smoke.
Aerial footage of the fire shows what appears to be smouldering grave stones.
Waterbombers helped to fight the blaze, and police and CFA crews are also at the scene.
The MFB said it arrived on the scene within three minutes of being called.
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