Emergency crews gearing up as weather heats upBy Parthena Stavropoulos, Friday January 11, 2013 - 07:02 EDT
The state's fire chief says it is not too late for Victorians to make a bushfire plan ahead of tomorrow's forecast of severe fire danger weather.
A ban has been declared for the entire state and the weather bureau says it will be a hot, dry and windy day with a chance of lightning strikes.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says everybody needs to take responsibility for their own safety and know what they will do if a fire breaks out close to them.
He says the forecast conditions mean any fires that start will move very quickly and become out of control in a short time.
"Victorians need to be very conscious where they are tomorrow [Friday], particularly those that are still in the tourism spots," he said.
"If you are away from home understand where you are, understand what the fire danger rating system is and think about what your plan should be in regards to the location that you are at."
He says tomorrow's forecast will see similar conditions to last Friday.
"If a fire does start it would take little for it to become uncontrolled in all parts of Victoria due to dry conditions and the weather."
Commissioner Lapsley says any new fires will spread quickly.
"Grasslands are dry, the bush is dry, so with temperatures being high, the winds being north-westerly, (it) means that fires will move very fast," he said.
He also urged Victorians to make sure they know their warning systems.
"If smoke is in the area, make sure you do not drive towards it," he said.
Commissioner Lapsley also warned Victorians to be on alert for any fast moving fires, saying there is no guarantee that emergency alerts will reach residents quickly enough.
"You could be very close to the start of the fire which means you won't get a warning," he said.
"It's important for people to be focussed on where they are and the situation around them."
Currently there are 12 fires, two of those are of concern.
They are the Kentbruck-Portland fire in south-western Victoria.
"The control strategy is to have it contained by 8:00am on Friday," Commissioner Lapsely said.
"That's subject to weather conditions this afternoon, and that's with the best efforts of resources on scene.
"We will still see significant fire resources remain on that fire tomorrow to make sure it is contained and remains contained."
Commissioner Lapsley says there are also concerns for a fire a Goroke, in the Wimmera, which began two days ago.
"It has caused us some concern this afternoon, and is listed as going, and there are significant resources on that." he said.
The weather bureau is anticipating a very hot, dry and windy day across Victoria on Friday with the possibility of lightning..
The bureau's Tracy Malmborg says fire dangers are pushing to extreme across all districts across the state and reaching extreme in the Wimmera.
"That's because of the relentless pool of hot air over central Australia, which will be dragged down through Victoria tomorrow with some fairly strong and gusty north-westerly winds and that's what's elevating the fire dangers," she said.
"A south-westerly change is expected, to reach the south-western corner around 10:00am.
"[It] should push through to the Wimmera and to Melbourne around 4:00pm and up towards the north-eastern districts by midnight."
The bureau says while there will be a drop in temperatures by the weekend, that relentless pool of hot air is expected to return next week.
"We could see fire dangers elevated again towards the end of next week and unfortunately there are no significant rainfalls expected at that time."
Ambulance Victoria's Paul Holman says children have again been reported locked in cars today.
"There have been another six children locked in cars today," he said.
"Do not leave your children alone locked in cars, particularly in hot weather."
He urged Victorians to look after themselves in the heat, particularly the elderly and those who are socially isolated.
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
An Australian-first portable temporary flood barrier designed by a group of Brisbane university students for a competition will go into production.
After unseasonable mid-winter warmth winter has returned in a hurry to both eastern and western Australia as temperatures drop by as much as 15 degrees in 24 hours.
A cold front has brought damaging wind gusts to parts of Victoria with more on the way.