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Victoria emergency services warn people to prepare for horror fire conditions


February 26, 2009 12:44pm

Victoria fires
Be prepared ... a CFA fireman douses a smoldering tree after a bushfire near Daylesford / AP

DECIDE early to either leave or stay home.That's the message from emergency services to residents in high fire danger areas ahead of a predicted return to horror bushfire conditions tomorrow.

With temperatures expected in the high 30s across most of Victoria, strong winds and possible lightning later in the day, Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin said its key directive to the community was "to be prepared" for extreme fire conditions.

"Don't leave it too late in the day when you can see fire. Make that decision very early and make it a very conservative decision," Mr Esplin said.

"If you're not prepared physically and psychologically then it is better to be away from that area."

The Black Saturday death toll remains on 210, with 2029 houses lost, Mr Esplin said.

Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) assistant chief officer Liam Fogarty said 10 fires were still active in Victoria.

The Kilmore East/Murrindindi North fire was the most active blaze and had burnt about 160,000 hectares so far, he said.

The Muskvale/Hogans Road fire, burning south and east of Daylesford, was now contained and significant mopping up work to make it safe was being carried out today.

Mr Esplin said that while tomorrow's temperatures were not expected to be as high as Black Saturday's, the conditions posed other serious challenges.

"We have existing fires and I think that's the challenge," he said.

"The fires that are burning, the winds, the lightning and the state of fuel that exists around the whole of Victoria are cause for real concern.

"There is just no space for complacency tomorrow."

Victoria’s killer bushfires


Video & Audio


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Gallery Killer bushfires
Gallery Firefighter's images
Gallery Going home
Gallery Faces of the victims
Gallery Bushfire telethon
Video Video: Man charged
Video Video: Thirsty koala
Video Video: House saved
Video Video: Giving blood
Video Video: 'Racing fire'
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Enlarge Full coverage of the Victoria Bushfires
Enlarge Full coverage from the bushfire region
Enlarge More: The Australian

Red Cross: 1800 811 700 | Offer accommodation: 1800 006 468 | Centrelink 180 2211

Why on earth is 'stay and fight' still an option under these conditions? Tell people to get out - they can still (insanely) choose not to, but why perpetuate the myth that ...

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M Harris

Comments on this story

M Harris Posted at 4:20pm today

Why on earth is 'stay and fight' still an option under these conditions? Tell people to get out - they can still (insanely) choose not to, but why perpetuate the myth that staying is a viable option???

Lisa of Sydney Posted at 4:18pm today

People should leave with all their beongings while they have the chance and at least have thier lives and some belongings. Houses can be rebuilt, death is final. The lucky people who survived who stayed were just that lucky there were countless others that weren't. Leave while you can!!!!

Jack Tost of Perth Posted at 2:36pm today

Are people seriously considering staying and trying to fight a fire when we've just recently lost 209 people? No amount of money is worth you or your family's life. Insure your house and leave the rest up to the Gods and professional firefighters.

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