Around 116 houses, mostly holiday homes, were destroyed in bushfires in two towns in Victoria state on Christmas. Authorities in Wye River and Separation Creek said the blaze could continue till the end of summer.
More than 400 firefighters were pressed into action, as the fire spread across 2,200 hectares of green cover. Aerial images showed charred homes.
"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," said Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews.
No casualties were reported as authorities had evacuated around 1,600 residents and tourists from the area. "We can rebuild houses, of course. Things can be much worse than that," Andrews said on 26 December.
Last month, two people were killed and six sustained injuries in bushfires. In 2009, 173 people died in a similar blaze in the state.
This season's fire was started after lightning struck the area on 19 December. It quickly spread due to strong winds, crossing fire control lines and reached homes in tourist areas. However, light showers on 25 December helped ease the fire without extinguishing it.
Craig Lapsley, Victoria's emergency management commissioner, said in a statement that 18 dwellings at Separation Creek and 98 at Wye River were lost. He warned that there were "many hotspots within the fire area, so the change in conditions and the rain that fell this morning does not mean the threat posed by this fire is over".
Meanwhile, Mark Gunning of the Country Fire Authority said the number of houses destroyed will probably be the final number, "as we've just completed an extensive search."