Victoria experienced below average rainfall for most of the state during winter, but above average rainfall occurred in East Gippsland.
While areas in the far south-west received rainfall well above average earlier this spring, pockets of Victoria received below-average rainfall.
For the remainder of the year and into the start of summer, we can expect above-average rainfall across Victoria due to the influence of La Niña, particularly across the northern parts and mountain regions.
Considering the outlook and current conditions, the fire season has the potential to be a grassfire-dominated season, with shorter-duration fires in grass and dry forests during hotter and windier days.
CFA reminds Victorians not to be complacent as an average fire season in this state can still be a bad one.
CFA District 2 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer (A/ACFO) Mick Hembrow said rainfall totals in North West Victoria have resulted in increased yield and potential fuel load in some parts of the region.
“Grass and bush areas in the North West are rapidly drying and will sustain fire activity for the next three months.” Mr Hembrow said.
“Any additional rainfall received in spring will produce growth, which could very easily result in an even higher fuel load throughout the summer season if not properly managed.
“Reducing fuel loads in these areas will ensure if a fire does break out, it has less chance of spreading.”
“While CFA and our partner agencies Fire Rescue Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to assist us in preventing fires.”
Mr Hembrow said there was still a short window of opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so.
“People need to be aware that if using fire to clean up around their properties they need to register these burns on 1800 668 511. So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary callouts to brigades,” he said.
“You should not burn-off when winds are high or high winds are forecast – not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.
“For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council.”
Mr Hembrow said once the Fire Danger Period (FDP) comes into effect, CFA has a zero-tolerance approach to any fires caused by negligent behaviour. People who cause or light fires during the FDP will be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police, he said.
During the FDP fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer. FDPs are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
Fire Danger Period information and restrictions are published at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period. Please note the latest restrictions will be published on this page by the Tuesday before they come into force.
Victorians can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” information at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226. All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
Fire Danger Period information:
- Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $19,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (to view complete conditions visit cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can
- The public are referred to the CFA “Can I Can’t I” document for a full list of activities that can be safely undertaken during the FDP. This includes the permit and general conditions that apply in each circumstance.
- Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/farms – this information is important especially for new farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers.
- A Total Fire Ban declaration means no fires can be lit for the declared district for that day unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued. This applies irrespective of the Fire Restriction status for a given municipality. Further details at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can/