Commemorations are being held around Victoria and South Australia this weekend to mark the 30th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday bushfires.

The fires on February 16, 1983, burned more than 200,000 hectares of land in Victoria and South Australia and killed 75 people.

Of the 47 Victorians who died, 14 were volunteer firefighters.

Another 28 people died in South Australia, three of them firefighters.

On Saturday, Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers laid a wreath and observed one minute's silence at the Upper Beaconsfied site, east of Melbourne, where 12 firefighters lost their lives.

The crews from Panton Hill and Narre Warren were trapped in their vehicles when the fire raced up a steep ravine towards the town.

Volunteer Stan Hamilton was in radio contact with the crews as the blaze engulfed them.

"It brings back a lot of memories, as you can see," he said.

"I knew a lot of these firefighters that got burnt."

Panton Hill has also hosted commemorations in its memorial park to honour the deaths of five people.

The evening started with the laying of wreaths and a minute of silence before the CFA's prayer.

The night then kicked off with a band as more than 500 people mixed with CFA volunteers, family and friends.

The biggest service will be on Sunday, in Upper Beaconsfield, with more than 500 people expected to attend.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu says the memories of 1983's fatal blazes will forever remain in the minds of those who endured them.

He says the anniversary has a particular resonance for the victims of more recent fires as well.

"The horror of that day will live in the memories of all Victorians for many, many years," he said.

"We reach out to all of those who suffered through Ash Wednesday and of course to all of those who suffered through subsequent fires, including Black Saturday and obviously over the last few days in Harrietville."

SA marks anniversary

Services are also being held in South Australia to remember the 28 people who died there.

On Saturday, locals attended a service at Mount Lofty, overlooking Adelaide.

The state's Country Fire Service (CFS) says the bonds between South Australia and Victoria remain strong 30 years on.

CFS chief officer Greg Nettleton told the service that Ash Wednesday represented the largest loss of life of firefighters in a single day in Australia's fire history.

The CFS's regional commander, Chris Martin, reflected on those that went to work that day.

"For each one of them the last call was the same. It was the sound of a siren or the tone of the pager, representing the sound of the community and the individual call to each for their help," he said.

An ABC cameraman who covered the Ash Wednesday blazes recalled sheltering in a house surrounded by fire in the Adelaide Hills during the bushfire disaster.

Dusan Jonic, who recently retired from the ABC, said it was a horrible day.

"The winds were high and we were caught in a whirlwind actually, there was moments of panic," he said.

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