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Fire risk grows as Victoria dries out
Grass in Victoria’s west, central and north is drying rapidly, with strong spring growth resulting in potentially high fuel loads.
Grass curing in Victoria is about four weeks behind the progress of 2015, but curing is progressing rapidly through the central and southern districts, parts of coastal Gippsland and to the west of Melbourne.
Curing maps are developed each week using satellite data validated by observers across the state. These observations are crucial to assisting authorities analyse and respond to Victoria’s fire risk.
CFA State Duty Officer Jamie Hansen said residents living close to grassy areas should take steps to reduce their fire risk.
“We are expecting a higher than average risk of grassfires this season, especially in the west and central parts of the state,” he said.
“We’re asking residents to reduce your risk when it’s safe to do so. Slash, mow, graze and spray grass near your home, assets, and create fuel breaks.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“While CFA does everything it can, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.”
Mr Hansen said grassfires could travel up to 25km/h and even faster over short distances.
“Grassfires can be just as dangerous as bushfires; the higher the grass the more intensely it will burn. The heat from a fire is intense and dangerous,” he said.
“If you live next to grassland and a grassfire starts, walk at least two streets back from the fire to stay safe.
“If you live two or three streets away from grassland and a grassfire starts, stay where you are – grassfires are unlikely to spread into built up areas.
“If you’re caught in a grassfire, move to somewhere with minimal vegetation such as a well ploughed or well-grazed paddock and if you are at risk of being exposed to the heat from a fire, cover your skin with clothing made from natural fibres, such as cotton or wool and wear sturdy leather boots and gloves.”
The CFA Facebook page has just released a new tab allowing desktop users to view the most current grassland curing map which you can see here. This is thanks to code and IT wizard Adam Kamanek, Community Education Support Officer from District 13 who created this new feature.
For more information on how to prepare visit cfa.vic.gov.au/bushfire