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Commissioner video update 7/2/14
It's the 7th of February 2014, which is the fifth anniversary of the February 7, 2009 fires. That's something all of us should stop and remember and reflect on.
Let's take a little bit of time and think about those who have been directly impacted. Those who have lost loved ones, those that are still today struggling to cope and understand what happened.
It's a very important day, a day that firefighters, community members, and people across Victoria should look back on. It's also important to look at what the next period brings. The next three days - Friday, Saturday and Sunday - will be very hot across Victoria, and not only hot, we'll see some of the most severe fire weather that we've experienced in the last five years.
The forecast for Saturday and Sunday is clear - it will be very hot, very dry and will bring severe winds with it over Saturday night and into Sunday. So this weekend we need to take extremely seriously. It's the most serious weather we've seen. It will bring the potential of fire and will bring the potential of fire that will interact with communities. So that's something we need to be conscious of.
Everyone needs to have a plan. Think about your plan, the plan for this weekend is critical. We always say people should have a plan, if you've got a plan revisit it, think it through today, Saturday and Sunday are critical. If you haven't got a plan it's not too late. Sit down and think through what you're going to do. It's important for your safety, it's important for your family's safety, it's important for the people you love and that you care for. So that's the critical thing.
To explain the weather, I think people need to stay attuned to it. Total fire bans have been declared for all of Saturday and Sunday, for all districts across Victoria. That tells you we can see the weather. It also tells us we've got extreme and severe fire dangers in all districts. Depending on the day people need to stay attuned to what that means.
If a fire starts anywhere in Victoria in this period, it has the potential to run, run hard, be very intense and do damage. That's why you need a plan, because these fires have got a huge potential over this weekend. Couple that to the heat that we'll experience, up into the mid 40s, overnight temperatures will stay in the high 20s and may even go close being 30 degrees on Saturday night.
That brings fatigue, puts pressure on us, and if you think about that and then couple the fire issue it puts a lot of pressure on us and we need to think it through. Fire services, emergency services and emergency management agencies across Victoria are geared up. We've got everything that we can possibly have in place, we've got extra aircraft, firefighters on full alert, the relief system, the recovery system. All of those things that make it happen are there.
What we now rely on is people to take this seriously and do not start a fire. Anything that could start a fire, don't do it. Total fire bans are in place so you can't have a barbecue, you can't have solid fuels, you can't use grinding or cutting machinery, it's common sense. And we certainly don't need people starting campfires out in recreational areas.
It comes back to the common sense approach. It's not just about you doing the right thing, it's about monitoring others to make sure they don't do something that's foolish and end up starting a fire that does huge damage. It's the worst place anyone would want to be, to foolishly start a fire, not understand the consequences and this thing runs away and does huge damage to other people.
So let's all take that away, let's take it as a very serious weekend, the most serious weekend we've seen since I believe '09. It's got huge potential. So let's make sure as Victorians we get through fire free and manage the fatigue of heat. Thank you.
Transcript: Craig Lapsley, Fire Conditions Update - 7 February 2014