26 September 2023

Wet Spring forecast to dampen fires

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The risk of Spring bushfires throughout the State has been declared as normal except for parts of central and eastern Victoria where the potential is below-normal, according to the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services’ (AFAC*) Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring.

Commenting on the Outlook, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) said it suggested that parts of south-west Victoria had experienced below average rainfall over recent months which may lead to some forests being drier than normal.

“Parts of the Wimmera are experiencing drying conditions, however average rainfall is expected until late in spring,” FRV said.

“Forests in the Wimmera and the south-west may become drier with the forecast of higher than average day and night temperatures, potentially increasing the fire risk in those areas,” it said.

“Victoria’s eastern and north-east ranges experienced above average rainfall over the last 12 months, and coupled with above average rainfall outlook, below-average fire danger is expected in these areas.”

FRV said the rainfall in June had offset drier-than-average conditions in west Gippsland.

Although recent drying is evident across some parts of the eastern ranges, the Agency said it was expected to be offset by the forecast of a wetter than average Spring.

It said the Bureau of Meteorology had also forecast above median rainfall through spring, with the period August to October likely to be above median for the northern part of Victoria.

Country Fire Authority Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan warned Victorians that the State was one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world and even a normal fire season could present the risk of dangerous fires.

“Prepare your property ahead of this year’s fire season to minimise the chance of damage during a fire, even if you plan to leave early,” CO Heffernan said.

“Make sure you and everyone in your household knows what to do on hot, dry and windy days when fires can start and spread quickly.”

AFAC’s five-page Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring 2022 can be accessed at this PS News link.

*Note: AFAC changed its name from Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council to The National Council for Fire & Emergency Services but has kept its original abbreviation.

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