Big wet turns to fire alarm

JET-SETTERS: Jack Elkington and Tate Spiteri enjoy Lake Hume on Tuesday. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

JET-SETTERS: Jack Elkington and Tate Spiteri enjoy Lake Hume on Tuesday. Picture: JAMES WILTSHIRE

Summer will arrive with a bang on the Border with temperatures tipped to soar into the 30s for the rest of the week.

November has finished drier than usual across the North East and the southern Riverina, pointing to an increased fire risk.

That has resulted in widespread slashing of grass in recent days across the Border region to negate this fire risk.

The national Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre recently revised its outlook following September and October's record downpours and major flooding on the Border.

Bureau of Meteorology statistics have revealed Albury-Wodonga had its hottest day for November on the 21st, when the mercury hit 35.3 degrees.

Temperatures for the last 15 days of the month crept to above 20 degrees, creating ideal conditions for high fuel loads to dry out.

November recorded average rainfall, with the gauge at Albury airport registering 49.6mm for the month down from the normal 62.7mm.

DANGER: Wodonga-based CFA operations officer Brett Myers has warned there's ample ground fuel for fire this summer.

DANGER: Wodonga-based CFA operations officer Brett Myers has warned there's ample ground fuel for fire this summer.

Most rain fell on November 14 and 23, with downpours of 18.8mm and 19.2mm.

And spring overall was wetter than usual, with 253.2mm falling between September and November, above the average of 170.1mm.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Beren Bradshaw said on Wednesday that temperatures would hover around 30 degrees until Monday, when storms were expected to roll in.

“For summer we are looking at rainfall to be below average,” she said.

“Also, we will see warmer days and nights for the period.”

The threat of forest fires in eastern Victoria – which covers the North East – would peak around Christmas, Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.

“There is considerable grass growth across the state and as this dries out with the warmer weather, it will become very flammable,” he said.

“Preparation is the key, particularly for people living in interface areas. Grass fires can start without warning and can spread quickly.”

HAVOC: It was the wettest September on record for the Border, with the gauge at Albury airport receiving 142.2mm of rain.

HAVOC: It was the wettest September on record for the Border, with the gauge at Albury airport receiving 142.2mm of rain.

Walla-based agronomist Tim Paramore said the spring rainfall meant some farmers had received low yields in the cereal harvest. 

“They’ve lost a lot of crops from too much water in September,” he said. “There’s been some excellent and some awful canola yields.”

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