High fire sea­son alert

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - OLIVIA SHYING

FIRE­FIGHT­ERS are urg­ing res­i­dents to pre­pare for a se­vere fire sea­son, with the risk of dev­as­tat­ing bush­fires ex­pected to ex­ceed that of last year.

Emer­gency Man­age­ment Com­mis­sioner Craig Lap­s­ley has urged all Vic­to­ri­ans to pre­pare them­selves ahead of the in­evitable fire sea­son which au­thor­i­ties be­lieve will hit the re­gion early in De­cem­ber.

Dis­trict 7 op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer Pat Geary said unique weather con­di­tions meant this fire re­gion was fac­ing two dif­fer­ent risks — with the west and south part ex­pe­ri­enc­ing heavy rains and ex­cess growth, while the eastern area had had no rain, leav­ing dried-out fuel.

“In the south there is a lot of fuel so it could cre­ate a fairly dan­ger­ous sce­nario. We are ex­pect­ing a grass­land fire sea­son that may be quite in­tense,” Mr Geary said.

Fire agen­cies be­gan their prepa­ra­tions ear­lier this year with the Bu­reau of Meterol­ogy’s sea­sonal fore­cast — for Novem­ber through to Jan­uary — pre­dict­ing warmer av­er­age tem­per­a­tures through­out Vic­to­ria.

The 2017 south­ern Aus­tralia sea­sonal bush­fire out­look says the sever­ity of early bursts of heat on north-west­erly winds across the state de­pends on rain­fall and daily max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture in South Aus­tralia’s north­ern pas­toral dis­tricts dur­ing spring.

Mr Lap­s­ley said Vic­to­ria’s dry win­ter and rel­a­tively warm tem­per­a­tures were the un­der­pin­ning is­sues el­e­vat­ing risk.

“We are in for a hot dry pe­riod so that tells us we have ev­ery­thing (con­di­tion wise) for another fire sea­son,” he said.

Mr Lap­s­ley launched Fire Ac­tion Week yes­ter­day.

He said it was a time for all house­holds to in­crease their un­der­stand­ing of lo­cal fire risks, and to pre­pare their prop­er­ties and plan how to stay safe.

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