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Commissioner video update 16/1/14
As we speak it's Thursday morning and we've already seen that we've had two extensive days that have been quite significant, hot, fire potential has been there, and we've had fires.
Currently as we speak, a thousand fires have been reported over the past 24 hours and 39 of those are still listed as going.
We can hope that we can get on top of those and have controls around those fires as soon as possible, however what it is telling us is that any fire in the environment now will be absolutely critical for Friday.
What I'll do now is I will talk about the next few days of what the potential is with weather and what it will mean for Victoria. The weather forecast is very clear. We'll remain hot across Victoria on Friday, the winds will be strong and they'll have a south westerly change that if we had fires going it will actually push the fires in a different direction, and as we all know in Victoria that's the critical period of when we see extensive loss of property, impact of community is with that and after that wind change on Friday. We then move into Saturday and Sunday, the Bureau forecast is the clear that the northeastern part of the state including from Echuca along the Murray River towards Wadonga and further on, that it will be a very hot day. So the cool change would not have made it through the northeastern of the state until later on Saturday. So I think it's important, everyone thinks it's all over on Friday, let's think about the northeastern part of the state that remains in the 40 degrees until we'll see the change coming through.
After that, the Bureau has clearly indicated the temperatures will stay in the northern part of the state in the mid 30s for the next number of days and cooler in the southern part of the state, but I think we are moving back into this traditional high, every four or five days the highs will move through and we'll see that hot weather come back again later in the week and you can only hope it doesn't get to the extent we've had this week but it will be a high that moves through.
This week is a critical week in turning the fire season, and when I say that, to have four or five days of excessive temperatures during the day and during the nights is baking Victoria. It's taking the last amount of moisture out of any of the fuels whether it be grass or forests and across Victoria we'll now see the next six weeks are a critical part of the summer fire season. That is the fuels will be dry, all it needs then is the hot, the windy, weather the traditional fire weather that we do normally see happens in February. So I think it is a turning point in the season, a turning point of significance and we need to be very focused on what the next six weeks brings to Victoria in a sense of fire or the potential of fire.
We shouldn't be scared of fire, it's something we live with but what it means is we've got to have plans, we've got to work together. It's not just the fire services, it's all of us that need to work closely together to make sure we are in the safest, best position we can be for the remaining part of this summer.