Wet spring could bring grassfire risk

September 2, 2021 BY

Risk: Forecast increased ring in spring has authorities concerned conditions could lead to more grassfires. Photo: DAVID CROSLING/ AAP IMAGE

THE Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a wet and warm spring, and emergency services warn the weather could bring an increased risk of grassfires in Victoria.

Bureau climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said the east of Australia can expect above average rainfall this season, following on from a wet winter.

“Nationally, we’ve seen the wettest winter since 2016,” he said. “Australia’s average winter temperature is also expected to be one of the 10 warmest on record, particularly in the tropical north.”

The Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council and state fire service agencies have prepared the quarterly national seasonal bushfire outlook for September to November, which states an above average rainfall could result in more grassfires.

A wetter spring is predicted to lead to “above normal pasture growth conditions” leading to a higher fire potential in the northwest and west of the state, including the Wimmera and Mallee fire districts.

The outlook predicts a below average fire risk for summer in forest areas across the eastern, north-east, central and Otway ranges due to wetter conditions.

CFA chief officer Jason Heffernan said spring can be a challenging time for fire management due to unpredictable weather conditions and wind.

“Like last year, we can expect a grassfire-dominated start to the fire season, particularly in the west and north-west, while the risk of campaign bushfires in forested areas is substantially reduced,” he said.

“Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world, and even a normal fire season can present a high risk to communities.

“I encourage all Victorians to plan and prepare for their safety and ensure that everyone in their household knows what to do on hot, dry, windy days when fires can start and spread quickly.”

Thank you for supporting local journalism!