The heat will be on

January 05, 2018

A grass fire in North Shepparton last year.

Fire crews at the scene of a fire at Arcadia in November.

MELBOURNE: A total fire ban has been issued across the entire state of Victoria tomorrow amid extreme temperatures for what is forecast to be Melbourne’s hottest day in almost two years.

With temperatures set to soar to 42°C in Shepparton tomorrow, local firefighters will be on alert, with additional resources mobilised in the event of an incident.

No fires may be lit in the open air for the entire day, with the CFA advising residents living in fire-prone areas to activate their bushfire plans.

Melbourne is expected to swelter through its hottest day in almost two years on Saturday, with the mercury expected to tip 41°C in the city and northerly winds up to 40km/h.

It’s the hottest day the city has experienced since January 13, 2016, when temperatures soared to 42.2°C.

Temperatures are also expected to soar elsewhere in the state tomorrow — with Geelong and Bendigo expecting a high of 42°C and Avalon, Echuca and Warracknabeal expecting 43°C.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Chris Godfred said yesterday following the scorching start to the month, Melbourne and Victoria could expect a hotter January than average.

Last summer, Melbourne reached a maximum of 38.2°C.

Mr Godfred said Melbourne residents could expect a warm day again on Monday, followed by a cool change in the early afternoon, with the ‘‘odd shower’’ coming through.

Life Saving Victoria has warned beachgoers of potential dangers following four drowning deaths along the state’s coastline since Christmas Day.

Lifesaving operations manager Greg Scott said vulnerable swimmers needed to choose a sheltered spot and also warned of rips being the number one beach hazard.

‘‘Never swim alone and don’t over-estimate your ability, it’s just not worth it,’’ he said in a statement.

He said anyone caught in a rip current should stay calm, conserve their energy and either call out for help, float with the current, which may return them to a shallow sandbank, or swim parallel to the beach, which may help swimmers escape the current.

Campers, riders and bushwalkers have been urged to take care in national parks, reserves and state forests this Saturday, with bushfires and heat stress being key risks.

Forest Fire Management Victoria chief fire officer Stephanie Rotarangi urged people to check conditions before entering parks and forests, to stop and rest in the shade, drink water and head back immediately if someone becomes unwell.

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