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Early season outlook
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson has called on the community to start preparing for the fire season now after early indications suggest an "above normal" fire weather risk.
The seasonal outlook is an output from the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, which brings together fire managers with climatologists and meteorologists from across Australia each year to discuss fire potential across the country.
Speaking at the AFAC and Bushfire CRC conferences in Melbourne this morning, Mr Ferguson, said the emergency services paid close attention to these forecasts in making decisions about when to do planned burning and get in extra air support.
Large areas of southern Australia, especially along the east and west coasts extending inland, face above normal fire potential for the 2013-2014 fire season, despite the extensive fires in some parts of the country over the last 12 months.
However, the area most at risk does not extend right across the country, as was seen in 2012-2013. The above normal forecast is due to abundant grass growth across inland Australia, due to above average rainfall since May 2013.
These conditions, coupled with above average temperatures across the country since January 2013, have resulted in a build up of fuel in grasslands.
These higher temperatures have also seen forests begin to dry out. Elsewhere across southern Australia, the fire potential is considered to be normal for 2013- 2014, but normal fire conditions can still produce fast running fires.
The map combines the southern bushfire outlook with the northern bushfire outlook, which was released as Fire Note 113 in July. This seasonal bushfire outlook takes into account the bushfire potential through to 2014.