Up to 12 homes and hundreds of beef and dairy cattle have been lost in fires that swept across the south-west of Victoria.
About 40,000 hectares have been destroyed in the fires at Garvoc, Terang and Hawkesdale which were fanned by winds of up to 104kmh.
Deputy Premier James Merlino told a briefing on Sunday afternoon that sheds and machinery were also lost in the blazes.
“We are late into our summer fire season but this is the biggest event of the season,” he said.
“As predicted last week, this weekend has been difficult with both hot and windy conditions but people have been heading the warnings.
“This has been a difficult weekend. It’s quite a big fire front.
Mr Merlino said 280 firefighters and 29 aircraft had been deployed across the state.
The State Emergency Service had also received more than 400 requests for help and about 800 people reported to the five relief centres for assistance or information.
Mr Merlino said lightning strikes were the primary cause of most of the fires but investigators were on the ground investigating.
He said personal hardship payments of $1500 were being made available.
Authorities are warning the threat is still not over, and may continue throughout Sunday.
"We have hundreds of people on the ground, in the air, fighting these fires," Mr Merlino said.
"These fires continue and will continue through the course of day. The wind will remain in place for the course of the day, so we are in the middle of this firefight."
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said not all of the homes destroyed were occupied, and there had been no deaths or major injuries reported.
Authorities issued 51 emergency warnings, the highest level of warnings, and 29 advice messages.
"I think the community has responded exceptionally well," Mr Lapsley said.
"(There have been) no significant injuries, no death, a very dynamic environment, I would say they have done exceptionally well."
Firefighters and the communities faced a number of challenges because the fires started at night.
"The challenges is you can't get fire trucks into some areas in the darkness; we are unable to fly aircraft, and that means our suppression activity is suppressed somewhat," Mr Lapsley told the briefing.
"But we were able to issue warnings that mantle the community could make decisions about what they needed to do, particularly through the night."
The major grass and bushfires began on Saturday, raged through the night and continue to burn on Sunday.
"The community's done really well overnight to work a fire through the night, understand the warnings and look after themselves," he said on Sunday.
"But there have been significant losses. We've lost homes, farm machinery and sheds, and that's a huge impact on the community."
Warnings have been issued for about 50 towns, stretching from Hamilton to Port Campbell, an area of more than 160km.
There are four major fires burning, the worst being a huge blaze at Terang, which is threatening the town of Cobden.
More than 22,000 homes are without power in the region amid the strong winds.
Authorities are asking locals to stay tuned to emergency messages and act when required.