Days before the devastating Black Saturday fires, then-premier John Brumby warned Victorians they were in for some of the worst times in state's history.
He was right.
On the back of drought, a week of 40C temperatures and record-breaking 46.4C heat in Melbourne, nature unleashed its fury on February 7, 2009.
"It was a terrible day," Mr Brumby told ABC TV a decade later.
"For fire command, there were so many fires around the state. They lost communication and the wind changed, and it just turned on communities.
"We saw the very worst of nature. Fifteen-hundred atomic bombs - that was the power of those fires that day. And nothing - nothing - could stop them.
"But at the same time, this extraordinary human spirit, the generosity of human spirit and the hope for the future. And they are the two things that really jump out, I think, about that period."
Mr Brumby visited the Bendigo control headquarters on the Saturday night, when the first loss of life was reported.
But it wasn't until the next day authorities understood the extent of devastation that claimed 173 lives, injured 400, destroyed hundreds of homes and thousands of wildlife.
Recalling the disaster 10 years on has been traumatic for many, forced to not only rebuild their homes but their lives, too.
"When you put all of that together, it takes a long, long time to heal. For many people looking back on that, it's still a very difficult time," Mr Brumby said.
"There is hope, regrowth, renewal, but still for many people, you know, there is a deep sense of grief and loss."
On Thursday people from communities most affected, including Marysville and Kinglake, will mark the anniversary with a range of events, gathering to pay respect to those lost and celebrate the heroes that came to their aid before and after the blazes.
At Marysville's Gallipoli Park, where hundreds of people gathered to shelter from the fires, a commemorative event will be staged.
Many communities have requested media not attend Thursday's events.
Marysville survivor Tony Thompson said the lead up to the 10-year mark has been tough and many people were looking forward to it being over.
Numerous survivors told AAP they will not be attending commemorative events and were not interested in speaking on Thursday.
© AAP 2019