Victorians are bracing for the worst bushfire danger since the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.
Residents in parts of western Victoria have been urged to leave their homes with high temperatures and strong winds expected.
A catastrophic fire danger warning is now in place for the Wimmera region, including the town of Horsham (about 300 kilometres northwest of Melbourne).
‘Catastrophic’ is the most severe fire danger rating. A total fire ban has also been declared for the area.
Bushfire warning for western Victoria
Temperatures in parts of Victoria are expected to reach 40°C today.
Winds of up to 50km/h in the Wimmera region will pose an increased challenge for Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) crews, amid conditions that could intensify flames quickly and unpredictably.
It prompted calls from the CFA for residents to leave their homes by Tuesday morning. CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said today’s conditions “will put you and your family’s lives at risk if a fire starts and takes hold.”
Some local schools and the Grampians National Park have been closed. Residents have also been warned to avoid ‘high-risk’ fire areas such as campsites, parks and forests.
Locals have been told to pack an overnight bag with essential supplies for them and their pets and to avoid any unnecessary travel.
Authorities have urged Wimmera residents not to wait for an official warning before evacuating from their homes. Firefighters won’t always be capable of providing up-to-date guidance during a fire, as emergencies can develop rapidly.