By Jason Heffernan, CFA chief officer
Victoria is expecting a warmer spring and an earlier start to the fire season this year and we’re asking those living in high-risk areas to take action to prepare their family and property.
The new Spring Seasonal Outlook predicts the fire risk in the coming months to be normal across the state, as well as strong drying patterns in Gippsland’s forested areas and elevated grass fuel loads in central, western and northern Victoria.
While La Niña conditions have subdued Victoria’s fire risk the past three years, our state is one of the most bush-fire prone areas in the world and we need people to be prepared as we approach warmer conditions.
CFA crews have been protecting lives and property in this environment for decades – some for more than a century.
They’re highly trained, professional firefighters that have made every effort to prepare their communities ahead of this fire season, as they do every year.
We’re constantly working with our Victorian emergency service partners throughout the cooler months to prepare for fire season and this year is no exception.
However, while we continue our work, our crews implore people to understand that fire safety is a shared responsibility between fire services and the community.
We’re asking all Victorians in high-risk areas to take simple actions to prepare their family and property as the weather begins to warm.
If you live near areas with bush, forest, long grass or coastal scrub, these actions and decisions may well save your life and property in the event of a bushfire.
Find some time to sit down with your family or household and make a Bushfire Survival Plan, and if you already have one, it’s a great time to review it.
It’s also the perfect time to tidy up your property, this can include clearing your gutters, pruning branches away from your roof or walls, keeping grass shorter than 10cm and removing leaves and twigs from around your property.
Landowners should also consider private burn offs to remove green waste ahead of Fire Danger Period, FDP, declarations.
All burn-offs must be registered, which can be done online at www.firepermits.vic.gov.au.
Stay informed by downloading the VicEmergency app to stay across incidents and fire danger ratings in your area.
I urge all Victorians to visit the CFA website to learn more about how they can prepare themselves ahead of this bushfire season at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/prepare.