Phew. Warm enough for you?

Beachgoers are seen during a hot day at St Kilda beach in Melbourne.
Beachgoers are seen during a hot day at St Kilda beach in Melbourne.

Victorians are being urged to keep cool as extreme heat sweeps across the state, with the mercury set to soar to 44 degrees in some parts.

The forecast hot, dry conditions have prompted a severe fire danger warning for theĀ Mallee, Wimmera and northern country districts while Melbourne is expected to reach 36.

The hottest spots will be in the state's south west, with Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang predicted to hit 44.

Echuca in northern Victoria is also expecting a top of 44.

The state health department has issued a heat alert for the affected areas, warning the extreme heat may affect people's health.

People are urged to keep cool by using wet towels, putting their feet in cool water and taking cool, but not cold, showers.

"Pregnant women, people aged over 65, people with pre-existing medical conditions and children and babies are particularly vulnerable on days of extreme heat," the department says.

"Consider reaching out to someone you know that may be suffering in the heat today."

The fire danger rating is listed as very high in the state's south west, north central, central and north east and high in west and south Gippsland and east Gippsland.

Beachgoers are seen during a hot day at St Kilda beach in Melbourne.

Beachgoers are seen during a hot day at St Kilda beach in Melbourne.

Total fire bans are enforced in the Mallee and Wimmera districts and the Country Fire Authority is urging people to prepare their bushfire survival plans.

Fire bans have been declared across parts of Australia, as a heatwave sweeps across the south of the country.

A broad area stretching across much of southern Australia is set to experience the hot weather, with temperatures generally 10-14C higher than usual for this time of year, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Australian Associated Press