EMERGENCY services are warning of a heightened fire risk this summer, with below median rainfall expected over the coming months followed by a hot summer.
The Westernport Group of Fire Brigades is moving its fire season preparations forward from November to mid to late September and early October due to changes in the medium to long-term weather patterns for Victoria from the Bureau of Meteorology.
The forecasts for the period August to October signal a greater than 80 per cent chance of a strong El Niño event beginning in August.
Group officer David Breadmore said the forecast, combined with an above-medium rainfall over the past three years, had contributed to an accumulated fuel load build-up in bushland and roadsides.
He said another indicator was the recent bushfire activity in the Clarence Valley, New South Wales, which historically does not see fire activity before October.
The planning includes fireground/strike team leaders exercises, fire ground preparedness training, skills maintenance in off-road driving of appliances, fire behaviour forecasting, and bringing forward activities to identify and engage with at-risk communities and groups regarding preparedness,
“Mornington Peninsula residents will see an increase in CFA presence and activity in the area from September onward,” Breadmore said.
“The group encourages residents to consider bringing forward their own fire season preparedness, bushfire situation awareness, and personal planning in preparation for the likely potential of a heightened and early start to the Victorian fire season. CFA fire stations in the area are attended by members on most Sunday mornings, and advice on fire season preparedness can be obtained at stations.”
Breadmore said residents should review their own fire plans now and not leave it past mid to late September.
First published in the Western Port News – 26th July 2023