'He's Not Missing Anymore': Great Grandfather, 68, Killed In East Gippsland Fires
Bushfires raging in Victoria's East Gippsland have turned deadly, with the body of a beloved great grandfather found at his home in Buchan.
Mick Roberts, who had not made contact with his family since Tuesday, is believed to have been found dead.
On Wednesday his niece, Leah Parsons, posted online he had been found dead at his home.
"He's not missing anymore ... sorry but his body has been found in his house ...very sad day for us to start the year but we're a bloody tight family and we will never forget our mate," she wrote on the East Gippsland fire season 2019-2020 Facebook page.
She told The Herald Sun her family was "devastated and numb".
"He was my favourite uncle," she said. "His home was a constant swinging door of people who would come to visit.
“He was very very loved.”
His stepson, Dylan Wissell, told The Age Mick had a "heart of gold" and was well-known in Buchan, where he had lived for 20 years.
"He was tough on the exterior but he had a heart of gold," he said.
"He was a good man. He was a bit of a rock to me, to be honest. He was always there if I needed a bit of a yack."
Victoria Police confirmed a person had been found dead in Buchan, but have not identified the man.
Earlier on Wednesday Premier Daniel Andrews said four people were still missing, but would not say what communities in East Gippsland the people belonged to.
"Everything is being done to try and establish the whereabouts of these people," he told reporters at the Bairnsdale incident control centre on Wednesday.
After spending more than a day on emergency alert, the threat in East Gippsland and at Corryong in northeast Victoria had been downgraded to watch and acts.
But a bushfire is now burning out of control at Canterbury Avenue in Sunbury, northwest of Melbourne, with an emergency warning issued.
Residents of Enterprize Drive and Settlers Way were told at 4:20pm on Wednesday they should leave before conditions become too dangerous.
The risk of flare-ups elsewhere remains. Conditions are expected to worsen on Saturday and dry lightning has continued to spark new fires.
More than 500,000 hectares have been burnt as three fires in East Gippsland combined on Tuesday.
The blaze at Corryong has burnt 109,000 hectares and is also at risk of spreading and merging.
Confirmed property losses are 24 structures at Buchan, 19 at Sarsfield, 10 at Mallacoota and up to 15 at Cudgewa.
Helicopters will fly out 90 firefighters stuck at Mallacoota, an isolated coastal holiday town near the NSW border, so there can be a shift change.
Power has been cut to more than 7000 properties at East Gippsland and more than 1800 in the northeast.
AusNet said it could take days to restore power because the fires were still burning and it was unsafe to attend and assess the extent of damage.
Phones remain cut across much of the region and people are struggling to communicate with loved ones and get the latest information on the fire risk.
A boil water notice was put in place for Mallacoota from Tuesday to reduce public health risks.
A NSW police boat brought in water to Mallacoota on Tuesday and a Victoria water police boat is taking 1.6 tonnes of water on Wednesday.
A barge from Melbourne with two weeks' supply of food, water and fuel is also making its way to the town.
After a request from the premier on Tuesday, military personnel will start arriving to help with the relief effort.
Aircraft including Black Hawk helicopters are expected to land in the east of the state on Wednesday with other aircraft and naval vessels due in the coming days to help move people out of the area.
Naval vessels including HMAS Choules left Sydney bound for the East Gippsland coast on Tuesday evening and training vessel MV Sycamore has also been deployed.