FARMERS should avoid using machinery in coming days, according to CFA operations manager Mark Gilmore.
Mr Gilmore said a “good old fashioned heatwave” was due to hit Bendigo with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.
He said that posed a major fire risk, especially given grass had dried out.
“I suppose if halfway through January people still haven’t mowed grass around their property, they have to weigh up the risk of doing that given the grass is 100 per cent dry,” he said.
“It could pose more risk than having the grass.
“What people can do to lessen the risk is to not do any mowing after 10am, so that some of the grass is still moist from overnight.
“Generally fire conditions aren’t too bad until about 10am.”
Mr Gilmore said most major fires had been caused by machinery this summer.
Harvesters, ride-on mowers, chainsaws and wheel bearings have caused fires in Toolleen, Harcourt North, Lyal and Kangaroo Flat.
“The thing with grass fires this year is they’re travelling very quickly in the early stages,” he said.
“They’re quickly threatening people in other properties, often before CFA appliances have arrived there.
“When you’ve got lots of dry fuel, the fires are often quite large and unable to be put out by the people who start them.”
He said the majority of fires were started by people.