Looming heat spike causing ‘grave concern’ for fires

A bushfire burning in Victoria's west is yet to be contained before extreme conditions this week.

A bushfire burning in Victoria's west is yet to be contained before extreme conditions this week. Photo: AAP

Temperatures are predicted to top 40C by mid-week in western Victoria, sparking fears of more bushfires threatening lives and homes.

Victorian Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes says Country Fire Authority chief Jason Heffernan has expressed “grave concern” about the forecast, particularly on Wednesday.

“We’re expecting not only high temperatures but also wind … and given the hot weather that we’ve had in recent weeks a lot of drying has occurred,” she said.

The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted extreme fire danger in western Victoria for Wednesday.

“There’s a possibility that even more areas could see that extreme fire danger rating or even a chance they could be upgraded to catastrophic fire danger,” meteorologist Angus Hines said.

On Sunday, Symes confirmed six homes had been destroyed in the blaze that continued to burn northwest of Ballarat.

“That is very sobering news for those families,” she said.

Her federal counterpart Murray Watt confirmed sheds and other property have also been razed in the fire.

“We’re in discussions with the Victorian government about what assistance should be provided to those people,” the federal emergency minister told ABC TV on Monday.

The fire between Raglan and Mount Cole is not yet under control but firefighters have managed to slow its spread.

A watch and act warning remains in place on Monday morning, with residents in Amphitheatre, Raglan and Elmhurst warned it was not yet safe to return to their homes.

An advice warning is still active for nearby towns, although the threat has eased for parts of Langi Kal Kal, Trawalla, Beaufort, Lexton, Green Hill Creek, Rosyth and Lamplough.

More than 500 firefighters continue to battle the blaze, which has burnt through 17,000 hectares.

Symes said there were plans in place to manage crew fatigue as the fire could continue to burn for some time.

“We know that our first responders are going to be out in the field for many days and we want to make sure that we’re looking after their health and wellbeing,” she said.


Topics: Bushfires
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