Western Australians need to prepare for an extreme heatwave over Christmas, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting possible record-breaking temperatures for parts of the State.
From today, a spate of hot weather is expected to cause simmering conditions from the Pilbara to the South West, with the temperature tipped to reach up to 42°C in Perth on Christmas Day.
The heatwave is likely to continue into next week and authorities are urging the public to be aware that even in a State like Western Australia these conditions will be severe.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said it was absolutely critical that people prepared a bushfire plan and avoided any kind of activity that could start a fire.
“Our crews are prepared but we need everyone to play their part because hot and dry conditions can see a small bushfire escalate and become out of control very quickly,” he said.
“It is essential people don’t do anything that could start a fire, including using a barbecue or smoker which uses solid fuel, or welding.
“And they should ensure they are prepared for bushfires. Download the My Bushfire Plan app and create your bushfire plan today.
“During these conditions, people should be checking Emergency WA for bushfire warnings or to see if a Total Fire Ban has been declared for their area because there could be some restrictions in place.”
Bureau of Meteorology WA Manager James Ashley said residents should be prepared for very hot conditions over the Christmas period.
"North-easterly winds are bringing hot air to the west coast and into the south west corner of the State, driving the very hot conditions and increased fire danger ratings," he said.
"It will remain hot across the south west of the State well into next week, with maximum temperatures in the low 40s and high 30s through most parts, and overnight temperatures remaining high.
"During this prolonged hot period, we encourage people to check weather forecasts and warnings for their area on the BOM Weather app or the Bureau's website, and take heed of the advice from the Department of Health and DFES."
Department of Health Incident Controller Dr Tudor Codreanu advised Western Australians to take precautions to help prevent heat-related illness.
“Heatwaves have caused more deaths in Australia in the past 200 years than any other natural hazard,” he said.
“Extreme heat events are becoming common throughout the State and, in turn, increase the number of heat-related deaths and consequential impacts on families and the community.
“As this heatwave aligns not only with a long weekend but also with the holiday season we want to encourage everyone to take a moment to think about the health impacts of this intense weather.
“Initially you may feel dehydrated or suffering from heat exhaustion but this can rapidly progress to cardiac, respiratory and nervous symptoms heralding a heat stroke.”
For advice on what to do in a heatwave, visit healthywa.wa.gov.au
Statistics on Christmas weather:
• Perth's average Christmas maximum temperature: 31.5°C
• Perth's average Christmas minimum temperature: 17.5°C
• Perth's hottest Christmas day: 42.0°C in 1968
• Perth's hottest Christmas period (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day): Average Max 40.3°C in 2007
• Perth's hottest December day: 44.2°C on 26th Dec 2007
What you can’t do during a Total Fire Ban:
• Have a campfire, bonfire or light a fire, even in your backyard
• Use any barbecue or cooker that requires solid fuel such as wood or charcoal
• Smoke pellets and smokers are not allowed, as they use solid fuels
• Use a lawnmower or any other equipment that requires fuel, including in residential areas
• Use an angle grinder, welder, charring, soldering or gas cutting tool, and anything considered ‘hot work’
• Drive a vehicle off-road, such as in the bush or in a paddock, unless you are a farmer with an exemption for work purposes
What you can do during a Total Fire Ban:
• Use public barbecues at beaches or parks, if they are electrical or gas-powered
• Use electrical or battery-operated tools, including a lawnmower
• Use a gas or electrical barbecue, if it has an enclosed flame