Victorians must understand that it will not always be possible for them to be warned about an approaching bushfire, the state's top fire official says.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley says people caught in the very early stages of a fire may not be able to be warned.

He's urging holidaymakers to be aware of their surroundings and have a fire plan.

"In the early stages of a fire being developed you could be very close to the start of a fire which means you won't get a warning," Mr Lapsley told reporters in Melbourne.

"The fire is in development, fire trucks are responding and the incident controllers will be putting information out.

"So if you are at the early part of the fire ... we won't provide in those first few minutes, information that can make decisions.

"So that is why it is important for people to be focused on where they are and the situation they are in."

But Mr Lapsley said there were many resources for people to keep updated on fires as they spread, including emergency alerts on the radio and Country Fire Authority website.

His comments come after controversy surrounding the emergency alert system.

Two residents affected by Tuesday's fire in the Snake Valley area near Ballarat told a community meeting on Wednesday they did not receive an emergency alert message.

But Acting Premier Peter Ryan said the emergency alert system worked well.

"I believe the alert system worked well in the circumstances of the fire around Snake Valley," he told reporters in Monbulk in Melbourne's east on Thursday.

"The alert, the first of them was issued about 20 minutes after the fire started ... from about 3.40pm through until around 9.30pm (AEDT) on Tuesday night alerts of different sorts were issued over the course of that time, around about a dozen of them."

Mr Ryan urged people in fire-affected areas to use a number of different methods to find out information, including radio, the CFA website and the Bushfire Information Line.

Mr Ryan was in Monbulk to announce a pilot program for the use of emergency warning sirens in towns in the Dandenong Ranges and Steels Creek.

If the siren continues for more than five minutes, residents should seek information about the situation, he said.

Mr Lapsley said 23 towns will have sirens connected to the emergency warning systems, under the control of the incident controller.

It is intended the program will be rolled out throughout Victoria.


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