Above-normal fire season forecast

EARLY WARNING: District firefighters fought a number of grass, crop and scrub fires last Summer.

EARLY WARNING: District firefighters fought a number of grass, crop and scrub fires last Summer.

CONDITIONS in Victoria appear likely to increase the risk of an above normal fire season, with a potentially earlier start in some parts of the State.

The Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, developed by the Bureau of Meteorology with fire and land managers, is used by emergency management agencies to make strategic decisions about the Summer season, including fire preparedness.

Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the outlook was an early indication of what Victoria could expect in the Summer season.

"The severity of the fire season will depend on a number of factors, including the amount, location and timing of rain in the months leading up to Summer," he said.

"The early forecast shows there is underlying dryness in some areas of the State, particularly across central parts of Victoria and across the east.

"While there is a lot of surface water, which means there will be grass growth and a healthy supply of water for crop growing, ground moisture has the potential to dry out quickly under dry and warm conditions.

"The level of risk in the October to December period will still depend on how much Spring rain there is in September."

Mr Lapsley said Summer season preparations across emergency management agencies were well under way.

"Pre-season briefings for emergency management personnel will begin to rollout across Victoria so our people understand the seasonal outlook, know the risks, are prepared to respond to emergencies, working with our communities," he said.

"It's important that the community also begins their fire prevention works, plan early and act early. Use all of September, October and November to get ready and prepare your properties, yourself and your family.

"Forest Fire Management Victoria and the Country Fire Authority have brought forward preparedness activities, including the Spring planned burning program.

"For Spring, efforts will focus on reducing risk in the north-east, northern country, north-central, the Mallee and the far south-west districts."

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