POLICE say a fire that burnt out about 10 hectares of land near Sovereign Hill overnight is suspicious.
Fire crews were called to the Golden Point blaze about 12.30am this morning, with reports of a grass and scrub fire at Elsworth Street.
Additional crews were called in for backup, with a 30-strong team of firefighters battling the fire.
A total of 12 units fought the blaze, which was brought under control within an hour.
It is not yet determined what started the fire, although detectives are treating it as suspicious.
Fire investigators will examine the scene later today.
Ballarat Fire Brigade captain Mark Cartledge said there was initial difficulty in fighting the fire, with dangerous and unknown terrain making it impossible for fire crews to get close to the flames.It had already burnt about half a hectare by the time the first crews arrived.
With possible mineshafts making it too dangerous to fight the fire directly, fire crews lit their own fire around the perimeter to burn out the area before the fire spread.
Although the weather hovered around a cool seven degrees with little wind, Mr Cartledge said it could have been much worse.
"The fire behaviour was pretty erratic for the conditions we had.
Had it been a bit windier or warmer it could have taken off a lot more. The conditions actually worked in our favour," he said.
"It's pretty concerning actually. We've had a few decent grass and scrub fires already this year and its still only November.
"It looks like it could be a pretty bad year for fires so people need to be taking every possible precaution they can."
Elsworth Street is blocked off this morning between Brittain Street and Main Road and large amounts of smoke are expected in the area for most of the day.
Fire crews will stay on site throughout the day and into tonight.