Victorian schools to shut over bushfire threat

Victorian schools to shut over bushfire threat

26 February 2009

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Australia — Almost 200 Victorian public schools will close tomorrow in an unprecedented precautionary move amid forecasts of an extreme bushfire risk.

The Department of Education has this afternoon issued a list of 189 Government primary and secondary schools located in various bushfire-prone areas that have been instructed to close their doors on a day in which temperatures are expected to hit 40C.

The list of recommended closures include schools located in areas where there is no current fire-front burning.

Numerous Catholic and non-Government schools will also close for the day, along with more than 100 kindergartens and childcare centres.

The move was backed by Victoria’s Country Fire Authority, which this afternoon strongly advised schools to review their bushfire plans ahead of tomorrow’s expected fire danger.

CFA director of community safety Lisa Sturzenegger said schools in bushfire-prone areas across Victoria had to consider “very carefully the risk in what will be another high-fire danger period”.

The temperature in parts of Victoria is expected to hit 40C tomorrow and moderate north-westerly winds are expected.

Government schools in the West Coast and Lower Eyre Peninsula of South Australia closed today as the state prepared for another day of high fire danger.

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