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Fire Services Warn of Continuing Fire Threat

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04 Feb 2009
After enduring more than four days of above 40 degree temperatures last week, Victoria is extremely vulnerable to fires ahead of more extreme conditions later this week.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is forecasting temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s for Friday and Saturday with strong winds and minimal humidity – extreme fire weather.

CFA, DSE and MFB are appealing to all Victorians to understand the situation as we progress through the first week of February, traditionally Victoria’s warmest month.

“We are again heading into extreme fire conditions. We need the community to understand there will be no respite from these sorts of conditions and they need take critical steps to ensure they are prepared,” said CFA State Duty Officer Allan Rankin.

“Make sure you and your family have your Bushfire Survival Plan ready and know what you will do if a fire threatens. Being prepared could save your life.”

DSE State Duty Officer Caroline Douglass said forecasted conditions mean that any fire that starts is extremely challenging for firefighters to tackle, especially those that are in remote areas.

“Victoria’s fire services will be working together to keep a close watch on conditions. The recent high temperatures have compounded what is already an issue for the fire services. There is high fuel loads and we have unprecedented dryness across all parts of Victoria,” said Ms Douglass.

“We urge people who are considering travelling or spending time in the outdoors to prepare adequately and check fire restrictions and conditions well in advance.”

The fire services are also appealing for the community’s help in preventing and reporting fires.

“Take responsibility for your actions - you do not want to be responsible for starting a fire. Be aware of what is going on around you,” said Mr Rankin.

MFB Chief Fire Officer Tony Murphy said recent fires in the outer metropolitan areas of Melbourne have highlighted just how dry it is across the whole state.

"Victorians living in Melbourne's urban fringe areas need to be especially vigilant about the threat of grass and scrub fires during the onset of hot weather," he said.

Important steps to take to avoid the threat of fire include:

  • Ensure your property is adequately prepared;
  • Adhere to any Total Fire Ban or fire restrictions;
  • If travelling, listen to ABC Local Radio or community radio station;
  • For bushfire information, check the CFA and DSE websites or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667;
  • Report any suspicious behaviour to Crimestoppers.

For more information contact:

DSE - (03) 9412 4777
CFA - (03) 5330 3124
MFB - 0400 919 778

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