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Heat wave conditions and increased fire risk for Victoria

POSTED: 
17 December 2019

Victoria is set to sizzle through heatwave conditions as temperatures are predicted to soar to the mid to high 40s across some parts of the state this week.

Victorians will experience consecutive days of very hot conditions, particularly in the north west of the state, where overnight temperatures won’t dip below mid 20’s.

Heat health alerts have been issued for the Mallee, Northern Country and North Central weather districts for tomorrow, for the Mallee weather district on Thursday, and for the Central, Mallee, North Central, North East and Northern Country for Friday.

State Response Controller Gavin Freeman is urging Victorians to plan ahead for the hot weather to minimise the impacts of extreme heat.

“Extreme heat kills more Australians than any natural disaster and can affect anybody, but those most at risk are older people, young children and those with medical conditions,” said Mr Freeman.

“There are simple precautions everyone can take to minimise the impact of heat on themselves and their loved ones like staying hydrated, keeping cool by seeking out air conditioned areas, checking in on others who may be at risk and never leave kids or pets in hot cars,” said Mr Freeman.

The extreme heat reaches its peak on Friday with some centres in the north-west such as Mildura and Swan Hill facing temperatures as high as 47 degrees, which would make it Victoria’s hottest December day on record. The current state temperature record for the month of December is 46.6 degrees.

Friday is also likely to see a spike in fire risk as northerly winds strengthen ahead of a dry and gusty west to south westerly change.

“Friday’s extreme heat and elevated fire danger will put pressure on the five significant fires still burning across the state. Our firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, as well as heavy machinery operators are working tirelessly to bring these fires, which have burnt approximately 54,000 ha, under control but we need the community to take action too,” said Mr Freeman.

“We’ve been ensuring fire agency crews are well prepared, but it’s also extremely important that the community is ready too, not only for the conditions forecast this week, but for the months to come.” 

 “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,” said Mr Freeman.

Victorians are reminded to connect to multiple sources for emergency information, including the VicEmergency app, www.emergency.vic.gov.au, tuning in to ABC radio or other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations or Sky TV or by phoning the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.