Parts of the Wimmera and Mallee and East and West Gippsland are forecast to experience above-normal bushfire potential over the summer, according to the update of the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook, released today.
The outlook suggests that above-normal bushfire activity will continue across the coastal and foothill areas of East and West Gippsland, across to the Great Dividing Range, however this now extends west to also includes the Central Goldfields, which takes in parts of the Wimmera and Mallee.
This is due to above average temperatures drying out grasslands and forests over the last three months coupled with three years of significant rainfall deficit in much of East Gippsland and across the Divide. While there has been spring rain in the south, much of inland Victoria received insufficient rainfall and as a result, soil moisture is lower compared to the long-term average.
When grasses and crops are close to fully dry, there is a very high potential for fire behavior to rapidly escalate under elevated fire weather conditions.
In Victoria, you can get emergency information from a number of sources including the VicEmergency app, emergency.vic.gov.au, tuning in to ABC radio or other emergency broadcasters including commercial and community radio stations, or Sky TV, or by phoning the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 and following VicEmergency on Facebook and Twitter.
The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook is developed by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre with Bureau of Meteorology and relevant state fire and land managers, and can be found online.