13 Jan 2016

Victoria braces for bushfire "perfect storm"

11:14 am on 13 January 2016

Extreme heat and strong winds forecast for most of Victoria today could create the "perfect storm" for bushfires, fire authorities warn.

A photo taken on Christmas day of an out-of-control bushfire at Wye River which flared along Victoria's Great Ocean Road.

A photo taken on Christmas Day of an out-of-control bushfire at Wye River, Victoria. Photo: AFP / Country Fire Authority

Temperatures will reach the low 40s across most areas of the state and a total fire ban is in place for all regions except East Gippsland.

Victorian emergency management commissioner Craig Lapsley said a cool change forecast for this evening was not expected to bring relief for firefighters.

"We've got northerly winds during the day, then a south-westerly change means that the winds, if there's fires around, will pick the fires up and push them in a different direction," he said.

"That's one of the key issues for firefighters.

"Also the community [needs] to understand with a day like today it's that perfect storm of fire weather, where you've got hot northerlies, a really hot day then that south-westerly change."

The state's north west is expected to record the hottest temperatures with the town's of Mildura, Swan Hill and Ouyen tipped to reach 45°C , the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) says.

Extra firefighting resources are on standby for any blazes that break out across the state.

Authorities have suspended escorted visits into the bushfire devastated communities of Wye River and Separation Creek to reserve resources.

Residents have been told firefighters need to be free to respond to any flare ups from the blaze which is burning 5km north-west of Wye River.

The fire destroyed 116 homes in the area when it broke containment lines on Christmas Day, a week after being sparked by lightning.

- ABC

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