RESIDENTS and holiday-makers in the area are encouraged to stay safe and remain aware of conditions as the weather heats up this week.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) said a state wide Total Fire Ban is in place with the Northern Country, Mallee and North Central regions experiencing severe fire danger.
‘‘Summer is not just about the risk of fire; it also includes storms, heat health and water safety, as well as road safety — particularly when people travel over the summer holidays,’’ Loddon Mallee regional controller, Mark Catell said. ‘‘All campfires are banned during total fire ban days. Solid and liquid fuel barbecues and ovens (including Hangis) are also banned during total fire ban days.
‘‘Approximately 10 per cent of fires are started by campfire escapes, there are on-the-spot fines for people who do not comply with campfire rules.
Mr Catell also reminded people to drink water and to look after those most at risk in the heat.
‘‘It could be your neighbour living alone, the elderly, the young, people with a medical condition and don’t forget your pets,’’ he said.
‘‘Wildlife can be affected by hot weather and may behave differently. There are several things members of the community can do to help wildlife survive the heat.
DELWP said residents can assist wildlife by placing bowls of water out around their garden and by using a garden hose to spray mist into trees and shrubs to create cooler niches that animals can use to hydrate and escape the heat.
‘‘If you come across wildlife that appear lethargic, non-responsive or sick, contact a wildlife rehabilitation organisation, vet, wildlife shelter or foster carer for further assistance.’’
For more information on the total fire ban, fire danger ratings or heat heath alerts visit emergency.vic.gov.au
Information on how to assist wildlife experiencing heat stress is available at wildlife.vic.gov.au