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Peat fires have forced more than 70 from their homes, may continue burning for months.

Peat fires emitting toxic smoke in south-west Victoria have forced more than 70 people out of their homes.

The St Patrick’s Day fires caused several peat swamps to ignite, and they’ve now been burning for more than a week.

This morning Jo Beard, Mayor of the Corangamite Shire, told Ross and John that the weekend rainfall wasn’t sufficient to extinguish the fires.

“These things need flooding for a considerable amount of time to get them out…The unknown question at the moment is how long this is gong to burn for”, she said.

The largest fire, in the town of Cobrico, is the main cause for concern.

Mayor Beard said the wind was causing toxic smoke from the Cobrico fire to blow over the nearby town of Cobden, which has a population of 1800.

The fires are under control, but could burn in the peat swamps for several months, posing considerable health risks to residents.

Peat emits several toxic gases, and emergency services, who are monitoring the fires, have detected unsafe levels of carbon monoxide in the region.

Press PLAY below to hear Ross and John’s full interview with Mayor Jo Beard.