CENTRAL Victoria is bracing for some of the most severe bushfire conditions since Black Saturday, with a spell of hot days soaring around 40 degrees.
Extreme heat and strong northerly winds have put fire crews across the region on high alert with tomorrow officially declared a day of total fire ban.
CFA operations officer Chris Jacobsen said a severe fire danger rating would be listed for Bendigo and the Loddon Mallee region tomorrow.
“We’re certainly looking at weather in the severe range,” he said.
“It’s absolutely severe through northern and central Victoria.”
Mr Jacobsen said the potential for large bushfires was a grave concern.
“We only need a strong north wind and we’re in real trouble,” he said.
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“A string of hot days will dry out the fuel more and create these severe bushfire conditions.”
A maximum of 37 degrees is forecast for Bendigo today, before a high of 40 tomorrow, highs of 39 and 35 at the weekend and consecutive 40-degree days next Monday and Tuesday.
North of Bendigo, the mercury is set to rise even higher, with 43 degrees forecast for Echuca next Tuesday.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Geoff Feren said moderate winds would be a factor on Friday, with extremely dry conditions expected.
The DSE urged people to be careful with campfires. About 20 fires have been sparked by campers already this summer, including one at Metcalfe last Sunday.
Mr Jacobsen warned that people starting campfires were “playing Russian roulette”.
“It’s not the time for people to be doing unnecessary activities in dry areas,” he said.
“People need to enact their fire plan, they need to be fully prepared for the next two weeks of weather.”
To find out what you can and can't do on a total fire ban day visit the CFA website.