Australia — Acting Premier Rob Hulls today warned Victorians that the threat of bushfires across the State remained high despite a slow start to the fire season.
Mr Hulls said Victorians should not let recent rainfall make them complacent with tomorrow and Saturday forecast to be hot.
There are currently seven fires burning around Victoria mainly in East Gippsland and we are lucky that so far they have been in remote areas and havent threatened private property, Mr Hulls said.
Two new fires started overnight, in Gippsland, and the CFA have attended 15 wildfires over the last 18 hours.
There are 705 fire personnel across Victoria currently working, travelling to the fires or on stand by as required, with 384 of these people in Gippsland.
Eighteen aircraft, including Elvis, are fighting the fires in Gippsland, and all other aircraft are on a 15 minute availability, to join the effort as required.
There are two main areas of concern in East Gippsland; the Lightning Track fire, which has burnt 31 hectares and the Tara – Kanni set of fires, which are now more than 300 ha in size, Mr Hulls said.
It is critical all Victorians, no matter where they live, are prepared if a fire were to occur in there area now.
The areas most at risk areas this season are grass and crop pastures, the Otways, the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges, the urban-rural interface areas of Melbourne and provincial cities and the coastal fringe areas.
Mr Hulls said with many people camping this time of year there was a need to be especially vigilant.
Campers must remember to check local conditions, the bush is extremely dry and people should think twice before lighting a campfire, he said.
Mr Hulls said with hotter and drier conditions expected, fire services were concerned about rapid onset, fast moving fires in more densely populated areas.
While there has been rain, there has not been enough to ease drought conditions, he said.
Forested areas are still very dry and increased grass growth due to rain could act as fuel for fires as it dries out.
Mr Hulls said the Brumby Government worked closely with the fire agencies to prepare for the fire season.
The Brumby Government has already committed an initial $27 million for firefighting this summer, he said.
CFAs 59,000 volunteers as well as DSE, CFA and MFB staff are ready. We need the community to support them by knowing what to do in a bushfire.
Mr Hulls said all Victorians should support the fire effort over the coming months.
Those visiting regional Victoria need to take extra care. Everyone needs to remain vigilant and work together, he said.