NEW safety requirements mean there will be a drop in volunteer CFA firefighters working in the North East this summer.
District 24 commander Brett Myers said last fire season there was 895 volunteers who responded to incidents, but this summer he estimated it would be "closer to 600".
Increased minimum training levels have prompted the prediction with some volunteers having not completed courses covering entrapment in fire vehicles and on-ground risks such as falling trees.
Despite the reduction, Mr Myers said he did not believe the community would be more at-risk.
"We've still got capability and it's about making sure our people are safe and able to understand how deadly trees are, because they have killed people," he said.
"Even in NSW (recently) we've had trees come down on fire trucks.
"It's real and we've got to make sure our firefighters identify signs of a hazardous tree."
Mr Myers was commenting at a training day for Forest Fire Management Victoria staff at Corryong airport on Friday.
A group of seasonal firefighters honed skills such as loading retardant into a plane and communication.
"We're anticipating a long, drawn out summer and the underlying dryness is the key," Mr Jenson said.
"We're not saying there's going to be more fires, but any fire that does start has the potential to grow rapidly."
Mr Jenson said an increasing worry was unattended campfires with a third of 100 fires in the Upper Murray last season in that category.
"It's knowing when you're campfire is out," he said.
"If it's cool to touch, it's cool to leave; just by looking at it you can't see a campfire is all out.
"It just takes a light breeze to blow embers out and start a fire."
As part of the training, pilot Mick Gribble did retardant drops from his plane.
He carries 2800 to 3000 litres of retardant, "a fire truckload", at a time and he and his plane are based at Benambra.
Mr Gribble has been flying his Dromader for five years and been involved in fighting fires for 34 years.
There will be 132 seasonal firefighters across the Hume region this summer.
That area extends from the edge of Melbourne up to the Upper Murray and across to the Goulburn Valley.
Aircraft will be based this summer at Benalla, Mansfield, Shepparton, Mangalore, Ovens and Albury and be able to be transferred across locations depending on bushfire risk.