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We ll swelter until Jan 2
Large crowds flocked to Cottesloe Beach on Christmas Day as the temperature hit 39.6C. The heatwave will continue for a week. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Perth will swelter through an official heatwave this week, with maximum temperatures of 38C and above until New Year's Day.

Perth’s hot weather spell looks will continue until the New Year, with maximum temperatures of about 40C forecast for the next week, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

It comes after Perth experienced its fifth hottest Christmas Day on record yesterday when the mercury rose to 39.6C in Mt Lawley.

High temperatures on Christmas Day included 40.2C in Pearce, 40.4 in Gooseberry Hill, 46.4 at Emu Creek Station in the Pilbara and 44.0C in Murchison in the Mid West.

A top of 38C is forecast for Perth today with winds south to south-easterly of 15-20km/h moving east to south-easterly 25-35km/h during the day.

The bureau’s seven-day forecast is predicting a maximum of 40C on Thursday and Friday, 41C on Saturday and Sunday, 39C on Monday and finally some respite on Tuesday with a maximum of 34C.

There is a severe fire danger warning in place for the Central West, inland parts of the Gascoyne, upper and upland part of the Great Southern and central and southern part of the interior today.

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services is urging residents to stay alert, watch for signs of fire and have a bushfire survival plan and kit ready.

Total fire bans have been declared for the upper and inland parts of the Great Southern and inland parts of the central west.

People in these areas face a $25,000 fine or 12 months in jail if they use open air fires or undertake any activities that could start a fire.

Lifeguards will be out in full-force at Perth beaches over the next week as people seek relief from the heat.

A Surf Life Saving WA spokesman said Perth beaches were busy yesterday but most people were well behaved.

Lifeguards rescued eight people from the water and performed first aid on more than 25 swimmers.