Expect a scorcher with fire ban in place

TOTAL fire bans have been implemented throughout the Riverina and North East Victoria today with 41 degrees tipped across most of the region.

Albury-Wodonga’s temperature hit 39.7 degrees around 5pm yesterday after an overnight low of 19.5, but soared to 41.7 at Wangaratta and Yarrawonga and 40.3 at Rutherglen.

The last time the twin cities endured a 40-plus day in December was in 2009 when the 17th reached 40.3 degrees.

The sweltering conditions have prompted “be careful” warnings from fire services in each state, with welders, angle grinders and slashers subject to rules.

In Victoria, CFA Hume region controller Paul King said incident management teams and firefighting aircraft were on stand-by.

He urged people to “put a lot of prior thought” into their behaviour today and warned residents of risky areas to show forethought because crews might not be able to put some fires out due to the “severe fire danger”.

In NSW, Rural Fire Service Southern Border team co-ordinator Marg Wehner echoed Mr King’s views, recommending people to be careful with machinery.

A number of small fires at Balldale, Towong and Bowser were triggered by machinery, such as headers and faulty truck ball bearings, yesterday.

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