A Total Fire Ban has been declared for the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country fire districts for tomorrow, Wednesday 13 January 2021.

Tomorrow’s conditions in the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country will be very hot and dry, with temperatures forecast to reach the high 30s to low 40s in the far north-west.

Hot, dry, and fresh north-westerly winds have been forecast, before a gusty south-westerly wind change and possible thunderstorms.

The combination of heat and strong winds will considerably increase the fire risk, resulting in a Fire Danger Rating of Severe for the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country regions. The Fire Danger Rating will be Very High across the North Central and North East fire weather districts and High across the southern part of the state.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the weather conditions meant an elevated fire risk across large parts of the state, which will remain into the early evening.

“Just like we did on Monday, the Mallee, Wimmera and Northern Country will tomorrow experience elevated dangerous fire conditions and as a result, we have declared a Total Fire Ban across the three districts,” he said.

CO Heffernan said emergency services had successfully managed a few grass fires that broke out during Monday’s severe conditions but had been disappointed to see a number of deliberately lit fires in both areas of Total Fire Ban and areas where the Fire Danger Period had been declared.

“We saw campfires lit in places along the Murray River, near Myrtleford and Apollo Bay on a day of very hot and windy conditions. There were also a number of backyard bonfires in residential areas, which is really disappointing on such a hot day,” he said.

With many campers and holiday-makers enjoying time away across regional Victoria, CO Heffernan urged everyone to take great care and not light any campfires.

“Anyone who has had a campfire in recent days should make sure the fire has been adequately extinguished to avoid flare-ups.

“Having recently travelled across Victoria, I am also very mindful of the need for our farming communities to finish harvest following a period of wet weather. However, I urge those still harvesting to be careful and take all necessary precautions, especially tomorrow.”

A Total Fire Ban means no fire can be lit in the open air or allowed to remain alight from 12.01 am to 11.59 pm on the day of the Total Fire Ban.

Strict rules also apply to the operation of farm machinery, chainsaws and lawnmowers, and residents in Mallee and Wimmera, in particular, are encouraged to take extreme care tomorrow.

For more information on what you can and can’t do visit the Can I or Can’t I page on the CFA website.

Victorians should also make sure they have access to more than one source of information in the event of an emergency, including:
  • ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News
  • The VicEmergency App
  • The VicEmergency website www.emergency.vic.gov.au
  • The VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 Tuesday before they come into force.