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Media Releases

Fire, water and health challenges as heat moves in

POSTED: 
25 January 2018

Very hot and humid weather this long weekend is likely to have impacts on many people during one of the busiest weekends of the year and will dramatically increase the chances of significant bushfires to come.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said although there was no significant wind in the forecast, the heat across the state from Saturday to Monday was likely to have an effect on the community.

"This long weekend will combine very hot weather, dry grass and thousands of Victorians as they travel for the weekend or come home from summer holidays,” he said.

"Communities need to be aware of the conditions, take shelter from the heat of the day, make sure you stay hydrated and check local conditions.

“The long weekend will see a significant drying affect for Victoria which means the likelihood of serious bushfires will increase significantly into February.

“If you plan to visit one of Victoria’s beaches, pools or waterways, take care. If you’re swimming, swim at patrolled beaches, ensure you can identify rips and always swim with a friend.

“Victoria is already extremely dry and we will monitor closely any fire activity. Our fire authorities are ready to respond to keep small fires small. The dryness of the fuel load saw a busy period last week with 160 grass and scrub fires.

“More than half of the state’s aircraft has been in the air fighting fires this week. The contribution of our aircraft has been significant so far and will continue to be important as we look towards a hot period to come.”

Temperatures in Northern Victoria have remained high all week and are expected to peak over the weekend while the rest of the state high 30s to low 40s combined with uncommonly high humidity will affect thousands of holidaymakers as they seek relief from the heat and eventually make the trip home.

The beaches and waterways have been busy with an extraordinary number of drowning deaths recorded this summer. Additionally, Life Saving Victoria recorded 78 rescues in the past week alone.

Emergency services will be on alert but the community must also do its part. In Victoria you can get emergency information from a number of sources including the VicEmergency app, visiting emergency.vic.gov.au, tuning in  to ABC radio or 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 or Twitter.