CFA plans to play it safe after below average rainfall
Fire authorities warn of probable early start to this summer’s fire restrictions
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 introduced for the East Gippsland and Wellington shires on 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 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.