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FIRE crews have contained a fast-running grassfire in Little River that police fear was deliberately lit.
The grassfire, which threatened hundreds of homes on Monday night, was the third large blaze to break out in the Little River area this month.
Wyndham crime investigation unit detectives believe the latest was suspicious.
CFA spokesman Gerard Scholten said 40 CFA crews and four aircraft, including the aircrane Elvis, battled from 3.30-8pm to control the blaze.
Beginning on Bulban Road, it consumed 350 hectares of grassland. Residents in Balliang East, Exford, Parwan, Mount Cottrell, Eynesbury, Mambourin, Quandong and Melton South were put on a watch-and-act alert.
Police also fear an arsonist is to blame for a blaze that burned 50 hectares of grassland at Little River on January 6.
The arson squad spent days scouring the site on Little River-Ripley Road.
About 30 CFA crews comprising more than 100 firefighters took more than two hours to control the blaze, which started about 5pm. A separate grassfire in a quarry next to Avalon Airport on Thursday was contained within 30 minutes.
Werribee CFA captain Michael Wells urged residents in the outer west living near singnificant fuel loadings to recheck their fire prevention and escape plans ahead of a forecast 39-degree scorcher on Thursday.
Severe fire danger conditions, the third highest rating, are being predicted between Melbourne and Geelong.