Severe fire warnings and total fire bans issued across state

The State Control Centre has issued a severe fire danger warning to ring in the new year, with residents in high-risk areas being urged to prepare for possible fires.

Total fire bans are expected to be issued across the state on New Years’ Day tomorrow.

Ballarat City Fire Senior Station Officer Mal Jones urged residents to continue to be wary of the warning signs and to take care. 

“You have to be careful with fire and what you are doing. If you don’t have to do it (light fires) on bad days, don’t do it,” he said.

Mr Jones said he was not aware of any official New Year’s Eve firework displays being affected by the warning.

Despite the severe fire danger warnings, New Year’s Day is expected to be windy with a 90 per cent chance of rain in the morning before reaching a top of 27 degrees.

CFA chief executive officer Euan Ferguson said he expected fire agencies to be on high alert.

“Fuel across most of Victoria is dry and ready to burn. The Bureau (of Meteorology) is forecasting high temperatures and strong winds for Wednesday, which means our firefighters are likely to have a busy New Year’s Day,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson said western Victoria was at a high risk if fires occurred in these conditions because they had the potential to spread quickly and were difficult for firefighters to control.

Mr Ferguson said he wanted all Victorians, particularly those living in or travelling to high-risk areas to enjoy a happy and safe new year by preparing for the event of a fire. 

“It’s likely that in many places, bonfires and campfires won’t be allowed after 1am on Wednesday. 

“Any going fire must be completely extinguished and new fires can’t be lit,” he said. 

To stay informed download the new FireReady app, visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au, listen to emergency broadcasters, monitor the CFA Facebook and Twitter accounts and call Victorian Bushfire info line on 1800 240 667.

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