Battle to contain fires continues

Firefighters are continuing to battle fires across the state as high temperatures and strong winds create testing conditions for crews.

Bush and grass fires are burning about seven kilometres east of Cann River, in East Gippsland, and about seven kilometres north of Langkoop, west of Melbourne.

Both fires are currently being contained but the Country Fire Authority has advised residents to keep an eye out for changing conditions and to be prepared to use a fire survival plan if needed.

Firefighters battled almost a dozen blazes on Sunday, which was a total fire ban day for five districts across the state. Those fires have either been contained or have subsided.

Strong northerly winds and high temperatures in rural areas could present challenging conditions for crews.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a gale wind warning this morning for several districts, including Gippsland Lakes, Western Port and Port Phillip.

Temperatures are expected to reach up to 35 degrees in some areas, including East Gippsland and Mallee.

The Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Nicola Roxon, warned Australians to take precautions over the holidays.

Ms Roxon, who visited the Bureau of Meteorology's national office in Melbourne on Monday, urged Australians to prepare an emergency kit, keep an eye on the weather forecast and keep a list of emergency numbers at their holiday destination.

"Whether you're heading out-of-town or staying at home, keeping an eye on the weather forecast is just one of the steps your family should take this summer," she said.

"The Bureau's website, your local ABC radio station and the new DisasterWatch phone app are just some of the ways you can stay informed."

John Bally, the Bureau's manager of severe weather warning and disaster mitigation, said this year's fire season would be worse than usual because heavy rains in 2012 had fuelled grass growth.

"With all these fuel loads and above average rainfall, we're expecting a more severe-than-average fire season – particularly in areas that have heavy loads of grassland fuels. That's across much of the country."

This story Battle to contain fires continues first appeared on The Age.