Saturday's extreme heat and fire danger

Helicopter

9 January 2018

Emergency services were kept busy over the weekend with the forecast extreme heat bringing the state’s most significant fire danger day so far this season.

On Saturday (6 January) there was an Extreme Fire Danger Rating in four districts in the western half of the state, and Severe and Very High in the central and east of the state. A Total Fire Ban was declared statewide.

It was hot, dry and windy in most parts of the state on Saturday with temperatures climbing to 44 degrees in the north and west parts of the state and Melbourne reaching a top of 41.7 degrees. The north east of the state experienced 40-degree temperatures into Sunday as well.

Across the weekend, firefighters responded to more than 200 grass and scrub fires and 60 structure fires, while SES crews were called out to more than 300 jobs as the wind change moved through the state on Saturday.

There were two drownings and 72 rescues across Victorian pools, beaches and waterways.

The three major fires over the weekend were at Carrum Downs and Glenormiston on Saturday and Winton on Sunday.

“In some parts of the state the forecast of heat and wind meant that fire conditions were elevated, and could have been a lot worse - but thankfully it wasn’t,” Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.

“Well done to our firefighters and our emergency management workers who have worked in 40-degree temperatures over the weekend because that’s not easy, and well done to the Victorian community who have listened to our advice, modified their behaviours and understood the potential for what Saturday could have been.

“While conditions are forecast to be milder for the next few days, there is potential for elevated fire danger later in the week. Thursday is forecast to be warm to hot, so stay attuned to what that might mean in your local area in terms of fire danger.

“Victoria is prepared, this weekend showed that. Don’t be complacent in milder conditions and make sure you get your preparations right; think about what you will do and where you will go for emergency information.

“If you’re out by the water, at any of Victoria’s pools, beaches or waterways stay safe and look out for each other. If you can, swim at patrolled beaches and ensure you can identify rips.

“Be prepared for summer, be safe around water and ensure you’re connected to emergency sources.”

In Victoria you can get emergency information from a number of sources including the VicEmergency app, www.emergency.vic.gov.au (External link), tuning into ABC radio or other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations or Sky TV or by phoning the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.