Sum­mer fire risk warn­ing

Alpine Observer - - Front Page - BY JUSTIN JENVEY jjen­vey@ne­me­dia.com.au

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.

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