Saturday January 12 has been declared a total fire ban day in the Northern Country and Mallee, encompassing Bendigo, Heathcote and Echuca.
Fire danger will be severe in the northern country on Saturday. The day is forecast to be 37 degrees in Bendigo, with light winds.
In the north central district fire danger will be very high.
A total fire ban day means no fires can be lit, or allowed to be remain alight in the open air.
More information available at cfa.vic.gov.au/
Police have been called to 11 blazes in as many days around Bendigo, including car fires police suspect were lit to conceal crimes.
Police have attended three car fires, which Bendigo’s Acting Senior Sergeant Brad Hiatt said were often lit after vehicles were stolen.
Other fires were triggered by people who refused to heed safety warnings as central Victoria sweltered through continued hot conditions.
Police were concerned safety messages were not getting through to some as a heatwave began in Bendigo, with the Bureau of Meteorology not expecting hot conditions to ease until well into next week.
“There’s a real complacency in parts of the community around this sort of thing,” he said.
“It doesn’t take a lot for a fire to get away and if it does people will be charged with very serious offences.”
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One fire in Eaglehawk on Thursday night was likely caused by fireworks Acting Senior Sergeant Hiatt said.
“Fireworks are illegal and letting them off in summer can certainly increase the chance of setting fire to bushland,” he said.
Acting Senior Sergeant Hiatt said fireworks not only risked a blaze, they also put people at risk.
“It is an explosive device and time after time we hear of people receiving injuries because they have not handled these things correctly,” he said.
Investigations into the incident were continuing.
A majority of the fires were accidental or came after the CFA was alerted to smoke, with many people still failing to get permits during the fire period.
“They wait for a generally benign day but they need to be aware they need a permit to burn off on any day during the fire season,” Acting Senior Sergeant Hiatt said.
“Unless you have a permit you cannot burn off, even if it’s in a drum.
“During the fire period we have zero tolerance for this sort of thing. Even on a benign day the risk of fire is there.”
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