UPDATE: VICTORIAN police will target known and potential arsonists as the state braces for searing temperatures.
Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said there was a meeting of regional assistant commissioners and operational commanders yesterday to confirm strategies for the coming heatwave.
Temperatures are forecast to reach 40C across northern parts of the state today and will remain in the 40s until mid-next week.
Melbourne is expected to hit 41C tomorrow.
Fire authorities are expecting extreme conditions where fires will quickly become uncontrollable and unpredictable.
Mr Fontana said police strategies include community awareness and preparedness and having a visible presence in high risk areas.
But it also involved "targeting high-risk individuals that we suspect are involved in activity, or potential arsonists", he said.
Mr Fontana defended the work of the newly-established Bushfire, Arson and Explosives Liaison Officers (BAILO), a group designed to investigate and prevent arson attacks.
He said the statewide network of 150 specialist officers, which began in November, was more effective than a task force.
Mr Fontana said the focus should not just be on known arsonists.
"We're really focused on identifying high-risk individuals within the community and . . . not all of them are actually arsonists or have prior convictions for arson," he told reporters.
"We often get a lot of juveniles that are starting out to commit (crimes), set bushfires, or other people that have got no (police) background at all.
"I think it can be flawed to say that we just need to target people with convictions for arson because they're not always the ones that are involved in these incidents."
Mr Fontana said the officers had already made a number of arrests and were involved in investigations of a number of arson attacks.
"We've only rolled this program out in November and it's starting to grow and we're getting some really good results," he said.