Wimmera set to heat up

FIRE experts have warned Wimmera residents to be on high alert with severe to extreme fire conditions predicted for next week.

Bureau of Meteorology expects temperatures to reach 40 degrees on Monday, before hitting 43 degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The temperature is forecast for 35 degrees today, tomorrow and Sunday.

Department of Environment and Primary Industries land and fire Wimmera district manager Russell Manning said extreme weather was predicted.

"The fire danger rating next week is likely to be severe or above," he said.

"We will have the Horsham Incident Control Centre fully set up and ready to go.

"All fire-fighting crews will be on standby and aircraft will be ready for immediate dispatch if needed.

"Our fire tower operators will keep an eye out across the district and all equipment will be ready to go."

Mr Manning said the incident control centre would be integrated with teams from the Country Fire Authority and Victoria Police.

"We will be ready for a fast response to anything," he said.

Mr Manning said people should keep an eye on the weather at all times.

"We are expecting extremely hot weather," he said.

"People camping outdoors need to monitor the fire danger and if there is a total fire ban day, they need to know what that means in regard to campfires.

"We encourage people not to light campfires next week - regardless of total fire ban days - as a precaution."

Bureau of Meteorology weather services assistant director Alasdair Hainsworth said extreme heat posed significant risks to health and safety.

"Particularly the elderly who are more vulnerable to the effects of heat stress," he said.

Mr Hainsworth said it was important to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged exposure to heat.

"Holidaymakers are urged to be mindful of the weather conditions when making their travel plans," he said.

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