EXTRA police patrols will be out in force today to deter arsonists as the region swelters through temperatures tipped to reach 38 degrees.
A total fire ban will be enforced across the south-west as Country Fire Authority (CFA) brigades beef up volunteer numbers during the most hazardous hours of the day.
Both police and the CFA are issuing a warning to property owners to be on the lookout and to contact police at the first sight of suspicious behaviour.
Following statewide figures released earlier this week revealing that 29 arsonists had been arrested so far this summer, Warrnambool police’s Inspector Chris Bence said his officers would be visible across the region today.
“We do put additional police patrols on these days as risk mitigation,” Inspector Bence said. “We had a number of fires lit last year, which we believe were suspicious but it’s been a lot better this season.”
There have been no arrests in the south-west for arson this summer.
“I think that has a lot to do with people being more vigilant,” he said.
Inspector Bence urged residents to record number plates and details of persons they believe are acting suspiciously in their area.
Warrnambool CFA operations officer Henry Barton said an incident control centre was established in Warrnambool to co-ordinate any outbreaks.
Fire spotters and water bombers will also spend the day on standby in Hamilton ready to douse the first sparks.
“The local brigades and groups are working together,” Mr Barton said.
“Everyone will be on standby today.”
Mr Barton said anyone with plans to mow lawns or slash vegetation should wait until the cooler hours of the day.
Meanwhile, large sections of the Lower Glenelg National Park have reopened to the public after a massive fire burning between Kentbruck and Drik Drik was contained last Friday.
River spots and landings popular with fishermen and kayakers along the Glenelg River have now reopened.
The Princess Margaret Rose Cave has also remained open for business.