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Fire, storm and heat risk continues for Victoria

21 February 2024

Following a week of fires, storms and power outages, the focus of emergency services across Victoria is on providing relief to communities who were impacted, while also preparing for another storm and fire threat in the coming days. 

Thursday will present another day of risk for Victorians, with the Mallee, Wimmera, Northern Country, North Central, South West and Central districts all with an Extreme Fire Danger Rating. This means there will be dangerous fire conditions. Take action now to protect your life and property, and make sure to follow your bushfire plan.

Temperatures across the west, north and central parts of Victoria are also forecast to reach between the low 30s and high 40s on Thursday.

The multi-hazard risk will again be present, with thunderstorms predicted today until Thursday across central and eastern parts of the state, including Melbourne and Gippsland.

Last Tuesday's Catastrophic fire danger day in Wimmera District was the first in Victoria since the Australian Fire Danger Rating System was introduced in 2022. 

Two major bushfires broke out on that day; a 2254ha fire in Pomonal that destroyed 45 homes and one commercial property and a 4132ha fire at Dadswells Bridge that destroyed one property.

Both those fires are now under control, but fire crews remain on scene, working to ensure the fire is completely extinguished.

As those fires were burning last week, storms also ripped through eastern Melbourne and Gippsland. 

The Victorian State Emergency Service has responded to more than 5700 requests for assistance since 13 February. As calls continue to come in, volunteers are still working to clear trees and assist with building damage from the storms.

The storms resulted in 530,000 homes being left without power. As of Wednesday morning, that number was down to less than 3000.

Crews are prioritising essential services, including telecommunications and health, while conducting repairs that restore power to the largest number of customers at once.

The Prolonged Power Outage Payment of $1920 per week – for up to three weeks – will be available to all eligible households. AusNet Services will contact you from Tuesday evening if you have been without power for seven days and will follow up this week with further details on how to apply for the payment.

It is also important to look after your health and try to stay cool on hot days. 

For people in areas still without power, there are other ways to stay cool such as wearing loose-fitting clothing; staying hydrated; using blinds or curtains to block sun from shining directly through windows; and staying cool by splashing water onto your skin or taking cool showers.


Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner Rick Nugent: 

“Victoria's emergency services showed their expertise and commitment over the past week, responding to multiple emergencies occurring at the same time.” 

“Thank you to all the volunteers who attended fires and storms across the state, and to all the workers who have been putting in a huge effort to restore power to homes.” 

“As Victoria faces another hot day on Thursday, please look after yourself. Keep up to date with warnings, and be mindful of elevated risks" 


Quotes attributable to CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan: 

“Last Tuesday’s conditions represented the worst fire risk day Victoria had experienced since the 2019/20 fire season and sadly, as a result more than 40 homes were lost in the Grampians region and thousands of hectares of land was burnt across the west of the state.” 

“CFA crews and other agencies continue to work on these bushfires, keeping them contained and extinguishing hot spots.” 

"The fire threat is far from over. We have warm days coming up, especially this Thursday. This adds further pressure to firefighters already on the fire ground.” 

"I want to thank CFA members and our partner agencies for all their tireless efforts and hard work over the past week as they continue to keep Victorians safe. " 


Quotes attributable to Chris Hardman, Chief Fire Officer, Forest Fire Management Victoria 

“It’s been fantastic to see Forest Fire Management Victoria, CFA, SES and FRV work hand-in-glove across multiple, diverse and challenging emergencies in the past week, supported by our colleagues across the broader emergency sector. 

“I want to assure communities that we continue to have strong resources across the current fires to keep them contained and we are also ready for the next spike day on Thursday, with firefighters and incident management staff pre-positioned in key locations.” 


Quotes attributable to VICSES Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch  

“Be aware to the risk of further branches or trees falling from those hanging or compromised during last week’s storms.” 

“In strong winds, avoid walking and unnecessary road travel in high-risk areas including those impacted by last week’s storms.” 

“Tie down loose outdoor items including outdoor furniture and trampolines and park your car undercover or away from trees.” 

“For SES emergency assistance to flood or storm, phone 132-500.”