Danger season looming for central Victoria, fire chief warns

CENTRAL Victoria is facing its greatest fire risk in years, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley has warned.

Grasslands had dried up as such a rate in recent weeks that people could not afford to be complacent about their fire plans, Mr Lapsley said.

“We need to respect the bush this year, it’s a lot drier than other years,” he said.

“It’s also a little more challenging now than in the past because it’s a long time since we’ve had a large fire. In that time we’ve had a lot of new people moving in to the area. 

“People need to understand the weather and wind changes.”

Firefighting helicopters were called to five grass fires that burnt out of control across the Bendigo region over the past few days.

Mr Lapsley said the firefighting helicopter that was based in Bendigo for a trial period had allowed quicker responses to large grass fires.

With temperatures expected to top 30 degrees each day this week, Mr Lapsley said the helicopter would be a great benefit to fire crews across the region and be able to go straight out to incidents.

Mr Lapsley said the message from the CFA was clear that “if you wait, it’s too late”. He said people needed to review all their fire-ready strategies to be on alert.

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