INTERACTIVE: Fire and fear: our summer of disaster
A DAY of total fire ban has been declared for the north central and central region, as fire authorities brace themselves for a period of heightened danger across the state in the coming days.
Data from the Bureau of Meteorology shows Bendigo received only 0.6 millilitres of rain in January, compared to the average of 33 millilitres.
The dry weather does not appear to be easing up, with February historically Bendigo’s driest month.
Bendigo is set to top 36 degrees today and tomorrow, before it will drop to 33 over Saturday and Sunday.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Geoff Feren said while the weather in the upcoming days wouldn’t be exceptionally hot, the previous prolonged period of hot weather had dried out the grass.
“Obviously this period is not as intense compared with what we had in early January in Bendigo, but there is still a period of days over
30 degrees,” he said. “Certainly because it’s been dry and hot, the grass and vegetation is very dry and more susceptible to burning.”
Loddon Mallee regional controller Stuart Broad said the hot weather combined with heavy fuel loads caused by rain and floods across the state over the past couple of years meant the region faced a serious fire risk.
“We’ve had plenty of severe and extreme fire danger days this summer which will continue given the dry state of the region, combined with high fuel loads,” he said.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said February was traditionally a bad month for fires, and urged people to remain informed.
“Stay informed through cfa.vic.gov.au and by listening to ABC local radio and designated emergency broadcasters, by using the FireReady smartphone application, calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 or visiting an accredited visitor information centre.”