BENDIGO sweltered through its hottest January day in more than two decades after extreme temperatures hit central Victoria on Tuesday.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Dean Stewart said the mercury hit 43.8 degrees about 4pm, eclipsing the previous top of 43.6 degrees recorded on January 31 2009.
Mr Stewart said it was the highest temperature for January since recordings were first taken at the Bendigo Airport in 1992.
Charlton recorded the highest temperature in the state, with the mercury reaching 46.5 degrees about 4.45pm.
Kerang recorded a temperature of 44.1 degrees about 3pm, while Echuca hit 42.5 degrees, Maryborough 41.7 degrees and Castlemaine 40.2 degrees.
Mr Stewart said hot temperatures would continue in Bendigo, with a forecast of 43 degrees for today and tomorrow, and 41 degrees for Friday.
About 10,000 firefighters were on standby yesterday, with authorities bracing for extreme fire conditions.
CFA Loddon Mallee community education co-ordinator Paul Tangey said people should not rely solely on warnings when it came to fire danger.
"People need to check the conditions and keep up-to-date with what is happening in their area," he said.
"It's also important to know what district you are in so you can react to warnings."
Mr Tangey said there were three types of warnings - advice, watch and act, and emergency.
He said there was a number of resources people could use to stay informed including the CFA website, Facebook page and Twitter account, and media sites.
Today has been declared a day of Total Fire Ban and the CFA is reminding people it is illegal to light a fire in the open air without a permit.
"The local brigade are dedicated to their work - they do a marvellous job and the community can help by cooperating," Mr Tangey said.