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Severe and extreme fire danger forecast this weekend

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07 Feb 2014
Fire authorities across Victoria are preparing for dangerous fire conditions across the state this weekend, prompting a statewide Total Fire Ban on Saturday and Sunday.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said this weekend would be hot, dry and windy with Very High, Severe and Extreme Fire Danger Ratings across the state.

“Victorians need to take the conditions this weekend very seriously, these are the most serious fire conditions we have had this season.

“No matter where you are in the state, it will be very hot and dry on Saturday and remain hot overnight. The cool change will come through the south west of the state in the early hours of Sunday morning and move east throughout the day,” Mr Lapsley said.

“In these conditions if a fire starts and takes hold it will be very difficult to control, become unpredictable and fast moving. Fires have the potential to run and do significant damage.”

Mr Lapsley said firefighters at Victoria’s 1290 fire stations across the state would be at the highest level of readiness.

“CFA, DEPI, Parks Victoria and MFB firefighters are ready to go and are supported by our interstate and international counterparts from New South Wales, Queensland and New Zealand.”

With firefighters at the ready, Mr Lapsley said it was also up to the community to behave appropriately under the regulations of a Total Fire Ban.

“You must not introduce fires into the landscape. It is illegal to light any sort of fire, including campfires. We don’t want any foolish behaviour that results in a fire starting,” he said.

“The most common causes of recklessly lit fires including inappropriately disposed of cigarette butts, campfires, bonfires and flares.”

He encouraged Victorians to make a decision now about what they would do if a fire breaks out near them over the weekend.

“If you don’t have a plan, it’s not too late to decide what you will do. Don’t wait for a warning to be sent to your phone, it’s your responsibility to know your local conditions and be informed. Know when to leave and where to go, stay aware of your surroundings, and seek out information about weather and fire risk.

“Being the weekend, families will be together or travelling across the state and need to know what they will do in an emergency. If you wait until you see smoke in the sky it’s too late. The safest option is to leave early,” he said.

“For residents in areas where there are already fires in the landscape, it is important to understand how quickly conditions can change, and if the best option is to leave make that decision early,” Mr Lapsley said.

“Everyone who lives in high fire risk areas should to be alert to weather conditions, talk to neighbours, listen to

ABC local radio, commercial and designated community stations, call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line for official warnings and information about bushfires, check and the FireReady app.”

A Heat Health Alert has been issued for Saturday 8 February, advising of heatwave conditions.

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