Thursday 11th February 2021 has been declared a day of Total Fire Ban in the Wimmera and Mallee and Wimmera districts.

Tomorrow’s conditions in the Mallee and Wimmera will be very hot and dry, with temperatures reaching as high as 40 degrees in the north west.

Hot, fresh, and gusty winds northwesterly winds have been forecast, before a southwesterly wind change moving into the west in the afternoon and reaching central districts at night. There is little to no rain forecast.

The combination of heat and strong winds will considerably increase the fire risk, resulting in a Fire Danger Rating of Severe for the Mallee and Wimmera regions. The Fire Danger Rating will be Very High for South West, North Central and Northern Country, High across Central and North East and West & South Gippsland and Low-Moderate in East Gippsland.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said the weather conditions meant an elevated fire risk across large parts of the state.

“Tomorrow, the Mallee and Wimmera will experience elevated dangerous fire conditions and as a result, we have declared a Total Fire Ban across those districts,” he said.

“Overall we’ve had milder conditions but what we’re seeing this summer is these hot day or days where the fire danger spikes so it’s important that we don’t get complacent.”

While this year’s fire season outlook indicates a lower risk of prolonged bushfires, grass fires remain a high risk across the state after average-above average rainfall and strong fuel growth.

“Grassfires are prevalent this season and can move at speeds of up to 25km per hour and jump highways,” CO Heffernan said.

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

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