BENDIGO could have its hottest December day on record this week, with temperatures tipped to surpass 40 degrees in most parts of central Victoria.
The city is forecast to reach 45 degrees on Friday, which would exceed the previous record of 43.1 degrees on December 31, 2005.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Richard Russell said such hot and dry conditions were unusual for the region.
"It is certainly uncommon for this time of year," he said. "We don't typically forecast such hot conditions.
"We have a lot of heat coming down from inland Australia. Northern Australia has been building up a bit of heat, which is already affecting Western Australia.
"It will continue to spread eastward over the coming week."
Bendigo is forecast to reach 37 degrees on Tuesday, 41 on Wednesday, 39 on Thursday, 45 on Friday, and back down to 36 degrees on Saturday.
Winds should be mild throughout the week, although Mr Russell said fire danger ratings would still be either very high or severe.
Northern Victoria has already experienced a Code Red day this year - the first warning of its kind in almost a decade.
It reached above 40 degrees in some parts of the region on November 21, with strong winds and dry conditions leading to more than 60 fires across the state.
After more 12 fires broke out around Bendigo on Friday evening, the Country Fire Authority is urging people to be cautious.
"We'd like people to be very careful out there because fires can kill and cause damage," CFA District 2 commander Chris Jacobsen said.
Mr Jacobsen reminded people acts of negligence that resulted in fire could warrant criminal charges.
Anyone found guilty of recklessly or intentionally causing a bushfire could face a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Lighting a fire on a total fire ban day could also attract a fine of up to $37,000 or up to two years in jail.
The bureau is predicting cooler conditions will sweep through Victoria on Sunday, although there is no significant rainfall in the forecast.
"It will become a little bit milder," Mr Russell said. "But it will take some time to establish the milder air across northern Victoria.
"Temperatures should be knocked back into the early 30s on Sunday and into the following week."
Bendigo has experienced two extremes this month, with city also breaking the coolest December day record when it reached only 14 degrees on December 1.
But hot and dry conditions should be the norm over the coming months.
"Our climate centre is still talking of warmer than average conditions for the remainder of summer," Mr Russell said.
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