Victorians are facing a day of scorching summer heat as health authorities warn the community to drink plenty of water.

The temperature is set to hit 39C in Melbourne on Wednesday while Swan Hill, in the state’s northwest, is expected to reach a top of 43C, the weather bureau forecasts.

A severe fire danger warning has been issued for the Wimmera, which is under a total fire ban.

“With dry, windy and close to 40 degree days predicted, we want everyone to be alert to the symptoms of heat-related illnesses,” Ambulance Victoria’s Justin Dunlop said.

“This heatwave is likely to continue on and off over the coming weeks and we have made sure we have adequate clinical and support staff available to provide the appropriate level of care and response.”

Heat-related illness symptoms include heat rash, muscle cramps, heavy sweating, paleness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fainting.

Residents are urged to check on their neighbours, infants, the elderly and expectant mothers who are some of the most vulnerable in this heat, Mr Dunlop added.

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Metro Trains and Yarra Trams will closely monitor conditions throughout the day to ensure commuters get to their destination with no planned service changes so far.

Drivers should check their vehicles before hitting the roads, as breakdowns are more likely to happen in extreme heat, the transport department warned.