CFA plans to play it safe

Myrtleford Times - - News -

COUN­TRY Fire Au­thor­ity of­fi­cials an­tic­i­pate an early in­tro­duc­tion of fire re­stric­tions in 2018 com­pared to last year how­ever they don’t ex­pect to make a call any­time soon.

CFA District 24 op­er­a­tions man­ager Adrian Gutsche said with win­ter just fin­ish­ing they’ll now watch the weather closely over the com­ing weeks.

“Al­though we’re com­ing out of a win­ter in which we’ve had be­low av­er­age rain­fall, con­di­tions aren’t dry enough yet to start hav­ing those con­ver­sa­tions,” he said.

“The process for us is no dif­fer­ent to other locations across the state, we’ll start hav­ing some con­ver­sa­tions with our key stake­hold­ers, be­ing our group of­fi­cers, when they start to see their ar­eas turn.

“We like to al­low enough time for peo­ple to pre­pare their prop­er­ties and clean up af­ter win­ter be­fore mak­ing those calls too.”

While the re­gion’s fire danger pe­riod might be some way off, com­mu­ni­ties in other parts of the state are pre­par­ing for fire re­stric­tions to start.

Fire re­stric­tions will be in- tro­duced for the East Gipp­s­land and Welling­ton shires next Mon­day in what will be the ear­li­est ac­ti­va­tion of the Fire Danger Pe­riod ever in Vic­to­ria.

“I think we’ll probably start look­ing se­ri­ously at things in the last week of Septem­ber maybe the first week of Oc­to­ber,” Mr Gutsche said.

“We’ve got sig­nif­i­cant underlying dry­ness in the soil so what hap­pens from here on Wed­nes­day, Septem­ber 5, 2018, Page 5 out that’s go­ing to have a say in things.”

The ear­li­est fire re­stric­tions have come in, in District 24, were on Oc­to­ber 26.

Last year the Fire Danger Pe­riod be­gan later than nor­mal on Novem­ber 27, al­though the sea­son ran through un­til May 1, for the first time.

“I en­vis­age we might see fire re­stric­tions by late Oc­to­ber early Novem­ber so it may not be the ear­li­est ever buts it’s all weather de­pen­dent and work load de­pen­dant for our peo­ple,” Mr Gutsche said.

“When peo­ple are strug­gling to hold their burn-offs that’s when we gen­er­ally bring it in.”

Mr Gutsche said with some nice spring weather ar­riv­ing, now was an op­por­tune time to be­gin tidy­ing up prop­er­ties and to look at fire plans ahead of a po­ten­tially sig­nif­i­cant fire sea­son.

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