Update 3.54pm: Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp says Monday's extreme weather will challenge all existing fires across the state, contained and out-of-control alike.
At 2.22pm in Ararat on Sunday, Country Fire Authority crews controlled a pile of bark chips found smouldering outside Anytime Fitness on Campbell Street. They had been called to the area ten minutes earlier.
The latest weather warning from the Bureau of Meteorology predicts damaging winds averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts of 90 to 100 km/h to develop over Southwest Victoria on Monday morning.
"Winds will ease around an hour after the cooler southwest to southerly change moves through," the warning says.
"Isolated thunderstorms over remaining districts, mainly with and following the change also have the potential of producing wind gusts of 100 km/h which could lead to localised dust storms."
Update: 11.41am: Trains on the Ararat line will run to an extreme heat timetable for the rest of Sunday and all of Monday.
V/Line has confirmed it will take extra precautions. Extreme heat timetables are implemented on days predicted to reach more than 36 degrees, and usually mean trains travelling at 160 kilometres an hour need to slow down to 90.
"This means journey times may be extended by a few minutes, and some services will be replaced by air-conditioned coaches for all or part of the journey," V/Line's website states.
Update 9.42am: Organisers of Falls Festival, a music festival near Lorne on the south west coast, have cancelled the remaining three days of the gathering.
In a statement on Facebook on Sunday morning, they said refunds would be processed from 9am on Monday December 30.
"(The cancellation is) due to the predicted extreme weather conditions forecast for Monday December 30th in the Otways and surrounding region, creating a risk to health and safety due to potential fires, smoke, severe winds and tree hazards," it said.
"The decision has not been made lightly, our patron and staff safety is our priority.
"Forecasted (sic) conditions have gotten significantly worse in the past 12 hours, with information coming to light that has not been available to us before the event kicked off on December 28th. After consultation with local and regional fire authorities and other emergency stakeholders, it is clear that we have no other option. While conditions are fine at time of writing, we are taking the opportunity to move everyone offsite safely and in good time."
Earlier: A STATE-WIDE Total Fire Ban has been declared for Monday, when the mercury is tipped to hit at least 40 degrees in the Wimmera, with similar highs forecast for the rest of Victoria.
Both Ararat and Stawell are expected to reach 41 degrees.
There is a chance of thunderstorms and gusty winds later in the day, which will bring a cool change with them.
Further north in Horsham it will get slightly hotter with a forecast temperature of 43 degrees, but again with a late chance of thunderstorms and winds bringing a cool change.
The region is also set to swelter through Sunday with Stawell and Ararat expected to reach 38 degrees, and Horsham expected to reach 41 degrees.
To find out what you can and can't do during a Total Fire Ban have a look at the Country Fire Authority's Can I or Can't I? page.
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