Normal bushfire potential is expected in Victoria this spring, except for parts of central and eastern Victoria where the potential is below-normal, according to the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring released today.
The outlook suggests that parts of south-west Victoria have experienced below average rainfall over recent months which may lead to some forests being drier than normal.
Parts of the Wimmera are experiencing drying conditions, however average rainfall is expected until late in spring.
Forests in the Wimmera and the south-west may become drier with the forecast of higher than average day and night temperatures, potentially increasing the fire risk in those areas.
Victoria’s eastern and north-east ranges experienced above average rainfall over the last 12 months, and coupled with above average rainfall outlook, below-average fire danger is expected in these areas. Rainfall in June has offset drier than average conditions in west Gippsland.
Although recent drying is evident across some parts of the eastern ranges, it is expected to be offset by the forecast of a wetter than average spring, with further rainfall expected.
The Bureau of Meteorology has also forecast above median rainfall through spring, with the period August to October likely to be above median for the northern part of Victoria.
Burnt areas from the 2018-19 and 2019-20 fire seasons will experience below normal fire risk in eastern Victoria.
While it has been a favourable start to the 2022-23 winter cropping season this may result in extra grass and crop growth, leading to increased fire potential later in spring, as these fuels dry out.
The quarterly national Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring (September to November) is developed by Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), the Bureau of Meteorology and state fire service agencies. AFAC is the national council for fire and emergency services. The full outlook is available .
Quotes attributable to Emergency Management Commissioner, Andrew Crisp:
“This spring outlook gives us an early indication of what Victoria could expect over the higher-risk weather season and will be updated later in the year as predictions firm up.
“The emergency management sector undertakes significant planning and preparedness activities, informed by seasonal outlooks, to ensure that our emergency services are ready to respond to bushfires, floods, storms and other emergencies.
“Emergency management is a shared responsibility with our communities, and it’s important that Victorians do their part too –think about what you will do to prepare for and respond to a potential fire, flood or storm.”
Quotes attributable to Country Fire Authority Chief Officer, Jason Heffernan:
“Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world and even a normal fire season can present the risk of dangerous fires.
“Prepare your property ahead of this year’s fire season to minimise the chance of damage during a fire, even if you plan to leave early.
“Make sure you and everyone in your household knows what to do on hot, dry and windy days when fires can start and spread quickly.”
Quotes attributable to Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer, Chris Hardman:
“Victoria is one of the most bushfire prone areas of the world so even an outlook for average fire season must be taken seriously and requires detailed preparation. Forest Fire Management Victoria is working with all emergency sector partners to manage bushfire risk, prepare communities and plan rapid response to bushfires.
"We take every opportunity to manage bushfire risk 365 days a year, with different tools and methods, so we are well prepared for the bushfire season.
“We also encourage visitors to our parks and forests to work with us to prevent bushfires from starting and pay attention to campfire safety all year round. Unattended campfires can spread quickly and have devastating impacts on communities and the environment.”
Quotes attributable to Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner, Martin Braid:
“As winter comes to an end, now is the best time for community members to start thinking about the spring and summer fire season.
“It’s important to understand your fire risk and get prepared now, not when a fire starts.
“If you live on the urban fringe or near grasslands, you need to understand the risks with fast moving grassfires. If a fire starts in grasslands near your home, walk two streets back and keep clear of responding trucks.”
Quotes attributable to Victoria State Emergency Service Chief Officer, Tim Wiebusch:
“With a wetter than average spring predicted for most Victorians this year, now is the time to prepare, Victorians should never be complacent when planning and preparing for the risk of fire and severe weather.”
“Get ready before the rain falls. We know this spring is expected to be wetter than average, and that early preparation is the best defence against storms.
"As VICSES continues to review its township-based local flood guides. There are now over 140 local guides available for at risk flood townships. We strongly encourage members of the community to go the VICSES interactive maps to look up their Local Flood Guides.
“If you ever come across floodwater, it’s vital you never enter it. It can take just 15cm of water for a small car to float or lose traction, it may be the last decision you ever make.
”VICSES will continue to work closely with the emergency services sector to ensure the safety of Victorian communities, beyond the upcoming spring season.”
Reviewed 24 August 2022