Danger remains despite later start to fire season

There is still potential for grassfires despite the late start to the fire season. 147551_03

Fast running grassfires will be a risk across Victoria this summer, with winter and spring rain leading to significant pasture growth in paddocks and roadsides.

According to the update of the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, Victoria is expecting a normal fire season, with below-normal bushfire potential across the east.

The potential for grassfires is still very real across Victoria.

CFA deputy chief officer Alen Slijepcevic said Victorians should not get complacent due to the late onset of the fire season.

“Even a normal fire season presents a potential high risk and we urge residents to prepare their properties and continue to keep on top of fast-growing grass,” Mr Slijepcevic said.

“Anyone who lives in or travels through regional areas need to monitor conditions and have a plan for dry, hot and windy days.

“Grassfires travel faster than you can run, and they jump highways, so you need to activate your fire plan on those high-risk days before a fire starts.”

The delayed harvest due to recent rain will heighten the fire risk associated with cropping, compared to previous years.

Normal fire potential is expected in grasslands and dry forests and short-duration fires are still likely to occur under the right conditions – hot dry and windy days.

During winter and spring, most of Victoria received average to above average rainfall, except the northwest and far west of the state.

This has resulted in a later start to the fire season compared to recent years.

The current climate outlook for summer indicates above average rainfall in some parts of Victoria with generally warmer than average conditions in the west of the state and average conditions in the east of the state.

The rainfall outlook and existing underlying moisture means there is a low likelihood of large-scale fires in the foothill forests, with below-normal risk across the eastern, northeast and central ranges and the Otways.

Burnt areas from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fire seasons are included as part of the below-normal fire risk in eastern Victoria as these forested areas continue to recover from recent fire seasons.

In Victoria, emergency information is available on the VicEmergency app, emergency.vic.gov.au, and other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations or by phoning the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook or Twitter.