Fire risk still high despite cool change

THE Country Fire Authority is asking residents to remain vigilant even though the weekend has brought a cool change. 

Bendigo fire station operations officer Craig Brittain said the region was "baked" and "primed for fires".

"Even though it has cooled down, everything remains dry," he said. 

"Fuels remain hot, which means the fire risk will still be high next week."

Fuels remain hot, which means the fire risk will still be high next week. - Craig Brittain

Mr Brittain said the CFA had all hands on deck on Friday because of the severe fire risk the region faced.

"The CFA volunteers have given so much this week," he said. 

"It's a lot to ask for people to give up their time for four days to be on duty.

"They do it for the community." 

Department of Environment and Primary Industries Murray Goldfields district manager Steve Nicholson said on Friday that most fires that were burning were due to lightning strikes. 

"We are highly concerned about the current conditions," he said.

"We are at our highest level of readiness.

"Fires will continue to burn overnight and probably for the next couple of days."

Mr Nicholson said if requested DEPI would send resources to the Grampians, where a  21,000 hectare blaze has claimed the life of one person.

"No request has been made at this stage," he said. 

Arson and Explosives Squad Detective Sergeant Paul Tierney said Victoria Police were proactive during the bushfire season.

"We visit known arsonists and work closely with the CFA to use their aircrafts to conduct reconnaissance."

Police ask anyone who considers committing arson to think again.

There are heavy penalties for a person committing arson, with offenders facing up to 15 years in jail and fines of $34,000.

Remain vigilant, says CFA

CFA community education co-ordinator Paul Tangey said four national parks would be closed until Monday for public safety.

The following parks are closed: Big Desert Wilderness Park, Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, Murray Sunset National Park and Wyperfeld National Park. 

For more information on parks closures visit parkweb.vic.gov.au

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