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Commissioner video update 30/12/13
We’ve come through Christmas and enjoyed a very nice Christmas period. Fire’s still one of those key issues, though, we need to consider.
The last couple of days, we’ve had fire weather that has seen fires in central Victoria, north-western Victoria and north-eastern Victoria run and run hard.
That’s a real message to all of us, to say the fuel’s out there, the grass and the forests are dry, and are conducive now to fires introduced to the environment on a hot day, a windy day, that these fires will run and run hard.
That’s a message that we’ve been saying now for a number of weeks, about the potential of fire in this summer season. It’s a reality, it’s with us. This week, we’ve got a few other challenges.
On the 1st of January, we’ll see the potential weather to be very significant fire weather, but also very windy, which means if there’s not fires, we could have the issue of just wind pushing things around. That is trees falling, power lines down, the backyard equipment furniture being flicked around in the backyard. So, it’s broader than just fire.
The Wednesday forecast - although we’ll wait to see what the Bureau comes out with exactly - has a number of scenarios, but one of those is that it will be very windy in the northern parts, central parts and southwestern parts of Victoria, so that’s a big part of Victoria that will see a lot of wind.
It’s also forecast to be hot, and with some potential cloud, but if the cloud coverage doesn’t make it, the temperatures will peak into the high 30s and 40s. So, it’s one to watch. I think Wednesday is the day of the week that people need to be very attuned to.
The other one, though, it’s interesting that this time of the year, everyone’s out there enjoying what is recreation holidays in Victoria; a great place to be, whether they’re on the Murray River or whether they’re down on the coast. What we say, though, is you’re in an environment that you may not be fully used to.
So, know where you are. Find out the fire danger district that you’re in, find out the fire danger rating for the district on the day, and make sure you take those appropriate steps. Have a plan, think about you and your family, think about your safety, think about where you shouldn’t be and where you are best to be away from the potential of fire.
So, camping, campfires. Make sure if you’ve got a campfire the day before a hot day, that it is properly extinguished, it’s doused with water, it’s covered up and you monitor it. The smallest of embers, the smallest of a flame can be the start of the next fire and a fire that can do devastating damage across Victoria. So, you have a responsibility.
Travelling is the other one. On the roads, know where you’re going, know where you want to be, what time of the day. Think about the heat issues, think about the fire issues. If you see something, report it. Tune into radio whilst you’re mobile. Tune into the information that can help you on your trip.
Tourism Victoria is a great supporter of us. Understand fire and the tourism information centers across Victoria is one of those places you can get information from. They do a great job. They’re very helpful.
So, there’s lots of places you can get information. Certainly enjoy Victoria, but be very conscious that this week is one of those weeks that we will see hot, windy weather in dry conditions that can be very conducive to fires and compromise people’s safety.
So, enjoy it, but just be fire safe, be alert, but aware, but be safe.