A total fire ban has been issued across Victoria as soaring temperatures pose major bushfire risks.
Fire danger levels have reached extreme highs in the north and west of Victoria, including the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country and North Central districts.
A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told The Newsroom that temperatures could reach the low to mid-40s, and have prompted severe or extreme fire ratings.
A report issued today by the Climate Council, an independent not-for-profit organisation, said Australia suffered its third-driest September in 135 years. Climate change expert and former Climate Commissioner, Professor Lesley Hughes told the ABC fire seasons have been bought forward by at least a month in Victoria.
‘”Here in Victoria, for example, in the first week of October in some parts of the state temperatures were 12 degrees above average,’’ Professor Hughes said.
Fire authorities are keeping a close eye on Victorian districts. The CFA issued a warning on their website saying fire danger ratings are forecast for four days.
“We’ve seen several days of hot dry weather which has dried out the grasslands to the point they are now ready to burn,” CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said in a statement.
“There is no excuse for lighting a fire in these conditions, and all fires which have are already burning must be fully extinguished,” he said.
Robert Tindal, the Risk and Emergency Management Coordinator of the rural city of Mildura in north-west Victoria, told The Newsroom that Mildura was preparing to deploy if necessary heavy equipment such as large water takers that can provide as much 10 fire trucks worth of water at a time.
“This can be vital and allows firefighters to use to refill their fire trucks in the field.” – Ayan Kut
Top photo of CFA’s headquarters in Burwood, Victoria by Sarah Allen.