Victoria is bracing for a hot weekend that could prove the 'turning point' for the state's bushfire season, as crews spend Australia Day battling a number of remote blazes triggered by overnight lightning.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley says aircraft are attacking the blazes in the Gippsland region on Friday morning and will be watching for other potential threats.
Ongoing extreme, dry heat in the north has started "baking" the landscape, he said.
"Post this weekend, we will do a stronger analysis of the fuel conditions to understand what it means for February," Mr Lapsley told reporters on Friday.
"Also, remember, historically in Victoria, our major fires do occur in the first two or three weeks of February."
Sunday is expected to be the hottest day of the weekend, with the mercury almost reaching 40C in the city and higher in northern parts of the state.
Health authorities are urging residents to remain vigilant by staying cool, keeping an eye on the elderly and never leaving children in cars.
"We know that every time there is a succession of very hot days, that there will be a number of deaths," chief health officer Charles Guest said.
Lifesaving Victoria lifesaving operations manager Greg Scott reminded beachgoers to swim between the flags, with most drownings occurring outside patrolled areas.
It has been the worst summer on record for drownings in Victoria, with more rip currents this season than in previous years.
"It's not a case of near enough is good enough," Mr Scott said.
"Near enough might be where the rip currents are."