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Vic: Extreme weather conditions expected throughout state

02 Mar 2009 6:32 PM

The biggest emergency services project in Victoria's history has been launched as the state braces for gale force winds and fire conditions almost as bad as Black Saturday.

Although tomorrow's temperatures are forecast only to reach a high of 32 .. winds of up to 150 kilometres an hour are expected to fan extreme fire risks throughout the state from this evening.

Premier JOHN BRUMBY says conditions will be as bad as that experienced in the Ash Wednesday fires of 1983 .. but not quite as bad as last month's Black Saturday inferno that killed at least 210 people.

The premier says there are more people on the ground .. more tankers .. more resources .. more people from interstate and more aerial appliances than in the history of the state.

People are being told to put their fire plans in place straight away and if they're going to leave .. to go this evening.

Authorities stress that metropolitan areas will also be at risk .. with the winds also possibly causing power blackouts .. while fallen trees and other debris could create hazards.

A total fire ban is in place .. while 313 government schools .. 264 childcare providers .. 25 independent schools and 30 national parks will be closed.