A cool southerly change is expected to bring relief to firefighters battling grassfires throughout Victoria.
Meanwhile Victorian firefighters have been called out to several campfires and burn-offs despite total fire bans being declared due to extreme weather conditions.
A Country Fire Authority (CFA) spokesman said firefighters put out two campfires and two burn-offs across the state on Saturday morning, as temperatures began climbing towards 40 degrees.
He said it was important to remind everyone of the fire restrictions, considering the hot temperatures.
A mix of heat and strong winds has stirred up severe and extreme fire risks across most of the state.
Meanwhile the CFA warns several fires are burning, including at Tatyoon south of Ararat and Canadian south of Ballarat.
A fast-moving grass fire at Lake Pental near Swan Hill also is causing concern.
A relief centre has been established at nearby Lake Boga.
Temperatures in Mildura, in the state’s far northwest, are forecast to reach 41 degrees, while Melbourne will see a high of 38 degrees.
— Nine News Melbourne (@9newsmelb) December 28, 2013
But a cool change is already rolling in across the southwestern corner of the state and will push through northeast until midnight.
Weather bureau forecaster Peter Blake said Melbourne’s temperatures dropped rapidly when the cool change reached the city.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley has called such a mix of heat and wind to be one of the worst possible scenarios for firefighters.
“Even after the change, it’s not a cool change, it has potential to hold in for at least two hours, which is quite significant if we have fires running,” he said.
“For those in extreme fire danger areas, they should consider leaving.”
Watching 9 news & there are some horrible bushfires starting with the temp’s hitting over 40 degrees, please be safe everyone in Victoria !
— Shane Warne (@warne888) December 28, 2013
The CFA has declared a total fire ban for the entire state, expect for Gippsland regions.
The areas of the Mallee, Wimmera and northern country, which include Mildura, Horsham and Bendigo, are rated in extreme fire danger.
A severe fire danger rating is in place for the southwest and central area, including Melbourne, as well as north central and northeast regions.
Gippsland has been rated a very high fire danger.