Update, Tuesday 1.38pm
The Country Fire Authority has said a haystack fire at Yeungroon East, near Charlton was “no immediate threat’ and no action was required..
The haystack, on Yeungroon-Seven Mile Rd, was unlikely to spread into grassland but would generate a lot of smoke, the alert said.
The fire may continue to burn for a number of days, with mmoke visible from nearby roads and communities.
Update, Tuesday 6.39am: BUSHFIRE survival kits should be ready, the CFA is warning on a day when blistering heat is expected.
Severe fire conditions have been declared this morning for the northern country district, which encompass Bendigo as well as areas north to Echuca.
It has also been declared in the north central district, which covers Castlemaine, Redesdale and Maryborough.
The fire weather warning comes with advice to people in high fire danger areas to monitor the weather and finalise plans.
Bendigo is expecting very hot and mostly sunny conditions with a top of 43 degrees. Echuca is expecting 41 degrees.
Castlemaine is expecting 41 degrees and Maryborough 43.
Update 6.18pm: EXTREME weather conditions forecast for the state’s north in the next few days have the potential to set new January records, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Senior Forecaster Michael Efron said temperatures were expected to reach tops of about 45 – 46 degrees in northern Victoria on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nightfall was not expected to bring much relief, either, with the mercury unlikely to fall below the mid-20s.
“Certainly for the vulnerable, they should take care over the next couple of days,” Mr Efron said.
Heat health alerts have been issued for much of the week in the state’s north, in line with the weather forecast.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has advised people to prepare for the heat. Tips include drinking more water, keeping cool, planning ahead, checking in on others, and never leaving loved ones in cars.
Pregnant women, people aged over 65, children and babies, and people with pre-existing medical conditions are among those most at risk of heat-related illnesses.
With the heat comes elevated fire danger, though Mr Efron said it might not be ‘classic fire weather’ typified by strong northerly winds.
“We are likely to see south-westerly winds picking up during the later afternoon and during the evening on Tuesday which will increase the fire danger,” he said.
He encouraged people to keep an eye out for fire weather warnings.
Bendigo is expected to reach a top of 43 degrees on Tuesday. Wednesday’s maximum was 44 degrees at the time of writing, followed by a peak of 40 degrees on Thursday.
Both Kyabram and Echuca were expected to reach maximum temperatures of 45 degrees on Tuesday, followed by 46 on Wednesday and 42 on Thursday, dropping to 40 on Friday.
Temperatures in Castlemaine were expected to rise to 41 degrees on Tuesday, 42 degrees on Wednesday and 38 degrees on Thursday.
A top of 43 degrees was predicted for Maryborough on Tuesday, followed by 42 degrees on Wednesday and 38 degrees on Thursday.
“Later on Friday we will see a change crossing the state, so that will bring some relief, especially into northern parts of the state,” Mr Efron said.
“Temperatures there will be dropping back to the low 30s across the weekend. We are expecting some shower and isolated thunderstorm activity as well, so there’s potential for some moderate rainfall totals over the south-west of the state during the weekend.”
Sea breezes are expected to shield coastal parts of the state from the worst of the heat during the next few days and ‘put a lid’ on temperatures in Melbourne, where some of the world’s greatest tennis players are gathered for the Australian Open.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp emphasised the importance of planning and preparing ahead of hot day.
“There is significant risk of fire in all regions and we ask that people increase their fire preparedness to ensure safer fire outcomes,” he said.
“We’re still in the summer holiday period before school returns, with a large number of people camping and visiting national parks. It is important everyone stays vigilant and don’t light camp fires.”
Mr Crisp urged people going to the Australian Open or attending outdoor events to plan ahead.
“If you must go out in the heat, wear a hat and sunscreen and always take a bottle of water with you,” he said.
“Drink plenty of water and check in on others. Look after those most at risk in the heat – your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets.”
He said the increased fire danger on Tuesday was due to very hot temperatures and light winds.
“The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a very hot dry air mass with light winds and there won’t be much relief from the heat overnight on Tuesday, meaning if we have fires in the landscape they could challenge firefighters,” he said.
“Stay aware of your surroundings and if you’re travelling or in unfamiliar places, make sure you are aware of the local risk. Know how to stay informed and never rely on one source for emergency information.”
Earlier: A statewide Total Fire Ban has been declared for Tuesday, as the heatwave continues.
No fire can be lit or allowed to remain alight in the open air on January 15.
The fire danger rating in the Mallee will be extreme, while a severe rating has been assigned to the Northern Country, North Central and Mallee, and South West districts.
All other districts have been assessed as having a very high fire danger rating.
The temperature in Bendigo, in the Northern Country, is expected to climb to 43 degrees tomorrow.
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