Summer fire risk warning
FOREST Fire Management Victoria staff say a recent bushfire in the Warby Ovens National Park near Wangaratta is an example of how quickly the forest can change in summer.
Ovens fire district manager Jarrod Hayse said regular rain has resulted in more growth and combined with the recent hot weather, bushland has quickly began to dry out.
“The bushfire down at the Warbys is evidence that the spring growth is well and truly curing,” he said.
“At this end of the valley the northern slopes around Myrtleford and Bright are starting to cure, too, and will carry fire from now.”
Despite all the late wet weather the Fire Danger Period was introduced on November 27, two weeks earlier than last year.
“The fire danger period was brought in earlier than last season because spring was looking quite dry up until those really tropical evenings and big downpours,” Mr Hayse said.
“Things were looking especially dry around Indigo Shire and northern end of the Alpine Shire.
“Last year through December it continued to rain but we’re not sure if that’s going to be the case this year.
“The Bureau of Meteorology has forecasted La Niña which is an increased chance of above average rainfall for summer.
“However, they’re also forecasting higher temperatures.
“With fire restrictions in place people still needing to prepare their properties should get on top of mowing and slashing while the grass is still green and before it’s 100 per cent cured.”
Mr Hayse said FFMV crews from the Ovens district had been busy undertaking key works ahead of the holiday period.
“In terms of bushfire preparedness we’ve just come out of a really busy training period and are now doing lot of fire prevention works around camp sites and rec- reational facilities,” he said.
“Crews have been tidying camp sites and making sure fire placers are up to standard for the Christmas and New Year period.
“We’re also opening our fire access tracks in the back country through the state forest and national parks, and also improving our road signage in forests to aid in fire access.”
Among other things, personnel have also been familiarising themselves with new firefighting tankers which the Victorian Government rolled out last month.
The Ovens district took delivery of three of the Unimog tankers which replace an ageing firefighting truck fleet.
The purpose-built vehicles are equipped with all firefighting and planned burning needs with a water carrying capacity of 4000 litres.
They also have in-vehicle hose monitors and additional safety features such as cabin deluge systems, fire curtains and a ‘falling object protection system’.
In terms of bushfire preparedness we’ve just come out of a really busy training period and are now doing lot of fire prevention works around camp sites and recreational facilities.”
- JARROD HAYSE, OVENS FIRE DISTRICT MANAGER
FIRE READY: Ovens Forest Fire Management Victoria staff Ian Vonarx, Nick Howell and Jarrod Hayse in front of the new Unimog firefighting tanker.