Total fire ban day declared for Thursday this week
A TOTAL fire ban day has been declared for across Victoria tomorrow, with extreme heat and wind forecast.
The temperature is expected to reach 38 degrees in South Gippsland, with wind speeds of up to 26km/h.
While the greatest risk of fire is in the Mallee and Wimmera, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said if a fire starts in the conditions predicted tomorrow it will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving.
Fire agencies will find these fires difficult to control.
There is a high likelihood that people in the path of a fire will be killed or seriously injured in these conditions.
The EMC has determined tomorrow is a Code Red Day in the Mallee because a combination of high temperatures overnight, little relief followed up with predicted high temperatures and high wind speeds.
A state-wide Total Fire Ban has been declared across Victoria to prevent new fires starting.
Mr Crisp said Victoria had not experienced a Code Red Day and this needed to be taken seriously.
“Our message to community members in these areas is that leaving high bushfire risk areas tonight or early tomorrow morning is the safest option,” he said.
“We know this can be difficult to plan for and some will find it inconvenient.”
Mr Crisp said it was already hot and people needed to ensure they were looking after themselves and others, particularly those who need additional assistance in the heat.
“Our community members should be prepared for fire, and know where to get information to make good decisions about your safety,” he said.
“Given fires could start and move quickly, you won’t always receive a warning or be told what to do if a fire starts. The fire agencies advise you not to wait and see, it’s up to you to be prepared and to know what you will do.”
It’s important to have more than one way to access information and stay informed:
o Bookmark www.emergency.vic.gov.au, download the VicEmergency app and set up your own Watchzone or tune in to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News TV;
o Call the VicEmergency Hotline to talk to someone about preparedness on freecall 1800 226 226; People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or who have a speech/communication impairment can contact VicEmergency Hotline via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677;
o For help with English, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (freecall) and ask them to telephone VicEmergency Hotline. If you know someone who cannot speak English, provide them with this number.
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said Victoria’s fire agencies and emergency managers were on high alert and prepared for the worst conditions.
“Tomorrow’s conditions will be extremely difficult for firefighters and the community if we get fires running,” he said.
“The reality is fires are incredibly difficult to control and there are many aspects our communities need to consider in planning for it.
“Homes are not built to withstand the types of fires we may see on a Code Red Day and you don’t want to be caught travelling through areas on fire at the last minute if you wait and see.”
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