Fire danger set to rise on weekend as temperatures surpass 40 degrees in central Victoria

The fire danger rating across the region will be severe to extreme on Saturday, when temperatures will be as high as 43 degrees. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
The fire danger rating across the region will be severe to extreme on Saturday, when temperatures will be as high as 43 degrees. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

People in central Victoria are advised to prepare for fires on Saturday, when daytime temperatures are expected to peak in the 40s and severe to extreme fire danger ratings are forecast.

The Northern Country, North Central and Central forecast districts are expected to be subject to a severe fire danger rating on Saturday, while the Mallee and Wimmera will be at extreme danger.

The fire danger ratings for Saturday. Picture: CFA

The fire danger ratings for Saturday. Picture: CFA

CFA district duty officer Peter Lucas said the fire danger ratings indicated how difficult a blaze would be to control, with an extreme rating meaning it would be unlikely to be put out.

Bendigo is forecast to reach 42 degrees on Saturday, with north to northwesterly winds of up to 35km/h during the day, becoming cooler and south to southwesterly at night.

Echuca is set to reach 43 degrees, Redesdale 42, Maryborough and Castlemaine 41, and Kyneton 38.

Mr Lucas said tomorrow night was also a concern, as warm overnight temperatures would see the danger period begin early on Saturday, about 10am.

He said anyone who had had a fire recently, even a barbecue, needed to ensure it was completely extinguished before tomorrow night.

This map shows how dry grassy vegetation across the state is this week. Picture: CFA

This map shows how dry grassy vegetation across the state is this week. Picture: CFA

“We can’t have pre-existing fires in the landscape,” Mr Lucas said.

He said an evening wind change on Saturday would also be concerning in the case of any fire, with a change in direction representing the most dangerous time during a fire.

Mr Lucas said people should begin thinking about what they would do in case of fire and those camping or on holiday needed to be particularly aware of fires.

A person’s awareness of their location and where they were in relation to fires was important, he said.

He advised that people ensure they have adequate batteries for transistor radios and stay up-to-date on fire conditions by visiting www.emergency.vic.gov.au or tuning in to local radio.

He said people should avoid “hot refuelling” of boats and jetskis.

Mr Lucas said it was also vital people reported fires and not assume it had already been done.