TWO water bombing aircraft will be on standby in Bendigo over the fire season.
Emergency services trialled a program in the region last fire season where water bombing aircraft responded at the first call of fire.
The program will be rolled out around the state this year, according to CFA Loddon Mallee region commander Mark Gilmore.
“We had great success last year with two different aspects of our firefighting fleet,” he said.
“There are again going to be about 40 firefighting aircraft in Victoria, and early on in the season there will be one in Sea Lake and one in Bendigo.
“That will start in a few weeks’ time.
“They will be on automatic dispatch, so they will dispatch instantly when there’s a call of fire.
“We trialled that on behalf of the state last year and it will be extended.”
Mr Gilmore said an observation helicopter would direct the 3,000 litre water bombers and identify the best ways to extinguish bushfires.
He said the aircraft were particularly useful for blazes in inaccessible areas.
"It can work in the more dangerous locations where they're struggling to get to the fire," he said.
"The helicopters can knock that down and allow crews to get in and extinguish those fires.
“In the agricultural land surrounding Bendigo there are some areas where there are quite heavy crops and grass fuels.
“That grass fuel is green at the moment, but people will notice it turning to seed which is when the plant will burn.”
While there has been significant rain in Bendigo, Mr Gilmore said he expected an average fire season.
“In the last 15 years, 10 of those years were in drought, so people don’t have in their minds what an average season is like,” he said.
“We remind people to be fire aware in this part of the world.”
Emergency services will meet at the Department of Environment of Environment and Primary Industries office in Epsom on Friday for a briefing on the coming fire season.
Mr Gilmore said people could call 1800 240 667 for safety packs and information on bushfires, danger ratings, neighbourhood safe places and more.
He encouraged residents to prepare for the fire season.