Residents in Ballarat’s growth areas and rural areas of the city are being urged to prepare now for the possibility of grass fires and bush fires over summer.
The urban-rural interface where houses back on to open grasslands is a particular hot-spot with many new residents who have moved from more built-up areas unaware of the dangers of grassfire, or of embers landing from bushfires.
The same can be said for people who have moved from a more urban area to acreage outside the city’s built-up estates surrounded by grassland or bushland.
El Nino will more likely than not lead to a longer, drier slightly hotter fire season than average across the region and state.CFA community safety manager Michael Boatman
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast an El Nino event is likely to occur meaning below average rainfall and above-average temperatures for the region, further increasing the risk of fires across Victoria.
This week is Fire Action Week with locals urged to learn their local fire risks and prepare early for the summer fire season.
Property owners are encouraged to clean up fallen logs, twigs and leaves, clean out gutters and reduce the potential fire load around their homes.
CFA manager of community safety for the western region Michael Boatman said people needed to understand the likelihood of fire where they live.
Many local CFA stations will hold information nights and fire-ready sessions in the coming months for residents in their area, outlining exactly what they could expect if a fire broke out near their homes.
“It’s about understanding what you are going to do and not creating a mass panic,” Mr Boatman said.
Mr Boatman said fire restrictions were likely to be introduced earlier than last year, particularly in areas around Bacchus Marsh and further west of Ballarat.
“I think they will be earlier than usual … typically restrictions would have come in the second Monday in December but I suspect they’re more likely around mid November than December,” he said.
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“The time to prepare is now and not to wait.
“El Nino will more likely than not lead to a longer, drier slightly hotter fire season than average across the region and state.”
Mr Boatman urged anyone planning to burn off their green waste to take appropriate precautions to ensure it cannot spread, and to register their burn off so the CFA are not called out unnecessarily.
“Fire Action Week is a time to take action and ensure you, your family and your friends are ready for what is forecast to be a hot, dry summer,” said emergency services minister James Merlino.
“Our emergency management personnel have started their preparations, so now it’s up to all Victorians to understand their local fire risk and develop a fire plan.”
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