WANGARATTA residents must prepare for an above-normal fire season, according to the latest Seasonal Bushfire Outlook report.
The report, developed by the Bureau of Meteorology with fire and land managers, indicated conditions in Victoria appeared likely to increase the risk of bush fires this summer.
“The early forecast shows there is underlying dryness in some areas of the state, particularly across central parts of Victoria and across the east,” Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said.
“While there is a lot of surface water, which means there will be grass growth and a healthy supply of water for crop growing, ground moisture has the potential to dry out quickly under dry and warm conditions.”
Wangaratta fire station operations officer Trevor Logan said Wangaratta has experienced below average rainfall all year and urged locals to start preparing for an above-normal fire season.
“The surface might seem damp, but underneath the ground is very dry,” Mr Logan told the Wangaratta Chronicle.
“We’re predicting that the grasslands areas of Boorhaman, Rutherglen and Springhurst will be a major challenge for us this year.
“The forested areas of the King Valley and Mansfield may also be at risk.”