Gallery: South-west dodges dreaded 40 degrees

THE south-west escaped yesterday’s extreme heat conditions relatively unscathed with Port Fairy recording the hottest temperature for the day at 38.3 degrees at 1pm.

By 11am the mercury had hit 34 in Warrnambool and soared to 37.8 in Warrnambool at 1.30pm before easing to 29.9 at 3.30pm.

By 1.30pm Hamilton had reached 36.6, Mortlake 36 and Port Fairy 36.2.

Nine CFA and DSE fire crews were called to a pine plantation at Bowds Lane, Dartmoor at 1.55pm. The one-hectare fire near the town’s cemetery was contained by 3.30pm.

A CFA media spokeswoman said the cause was unknown. 

CFA crews were also called to a grass fire in Panmure late yesterday afternoon which was a false alarm.

 Elsewhere in the state, Victorians sweltered through the hottest November day in more than a century with the temperature soaring above 45 in some parts.

Many rushed to beaches in a bid to cool down, but it wasn’t all fun in the sun with grass fires breaking out in north-west Victoria.

In Melbourne, the mercury crept up towards 40 and was still there by early evening, hitting a high of 39.2 at 6pm.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Stewart said some relief was on the way with a change expected to hit Melbourne about 7pm. 

But Melburnians were still set for a steamy night with the temperature expected to remain in the 20s, with a minimum of 23 forecast and a high of 28 and patchy rain today.

The state’s hotspot was Mildura, where a maximum of 45.5 was recorded. That beat the state’s previous November record of 45, which dated back to 1905 in Mildura.

The biggest grass fire was near Baringhup, close to Maryborough, which spread over 200 hectares after starting about 3pm but was later contained.

The CFA also dealt with a fire at Lillicur, 8km west of Talbot, which burnt 20 hectares of grass and bush.

There were also grass fires in Edenhope, one near Avenel which caused smoke that disrupted traffic on the Hume Freeway and a four-hectare fire at Murtoa.

Ambulance Victoria said it had dealt with 25 reports of heat-related illness by 4pm and an additional eight cases where children had been locked in cars, including a three-year-old and a two-year-old in Greensborough.

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