Mansfield Courier

Grassfire danger high this summer, but bushfires lower


THE latest weather data shows a forecast of a wet spring.

This is predicted to lead to continued strong grass growth and the potential of increased grassfire conditions once the vegetation dries out.

Released last week, the quarterly national Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for September to November shows this year’s average to above average rainfall across much of Victoria is likely to result in continuous grass and crop fuels growth through most areas in the north.

But, for many forest areas, conditions are currently normal or wetter than normal.

The forecast indicates above average rainfall during spring, leading to a below average fire risk for summer across the North East.

“Like last year, we can expect a grassfire-dominated start to the fire season,” said CFA chief officer, Jason Heffernan.

“While the risk of campaign bushfires in forested areas is substantia­lly reduced.

“But, Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world, and even a normal fire season can present a high risk to communitie­s.

“I encourage all Victorians to plan and prepare for their safety and ensure that everyone in their household knows what to do.”

Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) chief fire officer Chris Hardman also

warned residents, saying “despite a wetter than average winter in some parts of the state, it only takes a few days of extreme weather conditions for the fire risk to rapidly rise”.

Spring is historical­ly a more challengin­g time of year for large scale planned burning due to less predictabl­e weather conditions, such as wind.

However, the higher moisture levels in forest areas may also provide opportunit­ies to carry out planned burning this year.

Planned burning works are supported with an increase in mechanical fuel management including slashing and mulching, as well as creating and maintainin­g fuel breaks to reduce the bushfire risk for communitie­s and the environmen­t.

Preparatio­ns by the emergency management sector for the 2021-2022 spring and summer season will incorporat­e planning for the risk of fire and extreme weather, with the added complexity of the ongoing coronaviru­s (COVID-19) pandemic.

Emergency Management Victoria will continue to work closely with the emergency services sector to ensure the safety of Victorian communitie­s.

“The spring outlook gives us an early indication of what Victoria could expect over the summer season,” said emergency management commission­er Andrew Crisp.

“New growth resulting from high rainfall raises the potential for grassfires which can move quickly and threaten properties and life.”

 ??  ?? THIS SUMMER: Victoria is showing a below normal potential for bushfire this season.
THIS SUMMER: Victoria is showing a below normal potential for bushfire this season.

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