Australia's Victoria braces for "catastrophic" fire danger in state's west-Xinhua

Australia's Victoria braces for "catastrophic" fire danger in state's west

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-13 10:57:00

SYDNEY, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- The Australian state of Victoria was on high alert on Tuesday for catastrophic fire danger in the state's west, as hot, dry and windy conditions gripped the region.

"Today, the Wimmera district has a catastrophic fire danger rating. Extreme fire danger ratings have also been forecast for the Mallee, Central, and Northern Country districts," Emergency Management Victoria warned on social media.

"On a catastrophic day, for your survival, leave bushfire risk areas the night before or early in the morning. Your life may depend on the decisions you make, even before there is a fire," the government agency noted.

According to the local weather service provider Weatherzone, northerly winds are dragging a hot airmass into Victoria ahead of the strong cold front, with the mercury in Melbourne reaching 30 degrees Celsius by 9:30 a.m. local time and the city's temperatures set to peak with 37 degrees Celsius.

Earlier, the state's Country Fire Authority (CFA) forecast that temperatures in the Wimmera, Mallee, and the northern part of the state could soar to nearly 40 degrees Celsius, along with winds around 40-50km/h, before a gusty south-westerly wind change with wind speeds between 60-80km/h.

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said in a statement that Tuesday's conditions represent the worst fire risk day Victoria has experienced since the 2019/20 fire season.

Under the Australian fire danger rating system, the "catastrophic" level means the most dangerous conditions of a fire that locals may encounter.

"Catastrophic conditions make it difficult for firefighters to control fires should one start," said Heffernan.