Australians in Victoria are sweltering through one of the hottest starts to summer in more than two decades, with parts of the state on track to surpass 40C.
Temperatures are highest in the state's northwest, where Mildura is forecast to reach 42C. Melbourne is due to hit 38C.
"It should go to high 30s and 40s and there might be some relief from the southwest over the afternoon as (a front) crosses central Victoria," Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Peter Newham told AAP today.
But strong winds, gusting up to 70km/h, are expected to continue into the evening before dropping off after 8pm.
The scorching temperatures mean Victoria is experiencing its hottest start to summer in 24 years, the bureau said.
The conditions have prompted a total fire ban and warning from health authorities for some areas.
"The chief health officer has issued a heat health alert to notify you of forecast extreme heat conditions at or above heat health temperature thresholds," the government said in a statement.
The warning covers areas including west and south Gippsland and the Wimmera.
The Country Fire Authority has also imposed a total fire ban for the districts of the Mallee, Wimmera and the Northern Country.
Crews have controlled a blaze near Ballarat, but an evacuation order is in place for some residents near the township of Little River, west of Melbourne.