UNPREDICTABLE wet weather has put a hold on the start of the fire danger season in the North East.
Victoria’s Country Fire Authority is yet to set a date for the start of the fire season, but in the southern Riverina there is no doubt with the NSW Rural Fire Service stating summer restrictions would apply from November 1.
CFA district 24 operations officer Graeme Neil said the weather would still impact when the fire season would begin.
“We are predicting an early fire season,” he said.
“But we don’t know what will happen with the weather forecast and it is still quite damp at the moment.”
Mr Neil said they could not confirm a date too early because they would not be surprised if conditions changed.
But Rural Fire Service operations services co-ordinator Inspector Marg Wehner said the amount of growth from the rain could be a concern and lead to rapid grass fires.
“If the season continues to develop in a normal fashion where the grass dries out we could be looking at dangers,” she said.
Mr Neil said the CFA was expecting a normal fire season.
“Saying that it doesn’t mean it will be benign because it will still be very hot and windy,” he said.
“And this area is prone to bushfires.”
CFA Victorian Hume region acting regional commander Stewart Kreltszheim said the amount of fuel around would impact the season.
“The wrong conditions could get the fuel going and find us chasing a fire,” he said.
Mr Kreltszheim said people needed to be vigilant because even though the ground was damp fuel could still dry out and cure grass.
Insp Wehner warned people not to pull their cars over or ride motorbikes in long grass or to light a fire without clearing the area around it or throw cigarettes out the window.
People are encouraged to create a bushfire plan with their family.
“It doesn’t take that much time to sit down with the family and work through these situations,” Insp Wehner said.
“If you find yourself in the situation it’s not a lot of time for you to work out what you will do but you must have a plan in mind particularly over the summer months when children could be home alone.”