EMERGENCY services in central Victoria are expecting fire season conditions to be on par with other years.
Despite a warmer than average start to 2019, Forest Fire Management regional manager Paul Bates said decent rainfall throughout the region in the past few months has helped the situation.
"In central Victoria, we're expecting what we consider a normal or typical fire season," Mr Bates said.
"We've had reasonable winter rain. Forests are now starting to try out particularly as we move into late spring and summer.
"But to the north of Bendigo, there hasn't been much rain and as you go further along the Murray River - around Kerang, Cohuna, and Echuca - those areas are now very dry.
"Indeed, we have had some small fires up there already this season."
Country Fire Authority operations manager Bill Johnstone said the conditions would vary across the region throughout the summer.
"We've got quite some disparaging differences between the north of the district near Elmore and Goornong to right down in Gisborne where it's still a little green and a bit damp under foot," Mr Johnstone said.
"So it does vary with topography and land use."
Mr Bates said Forest Fire Management has already started planned burns this month, which was on track with previous years.
"We've been doing a lot of work," he said. "We've employed our seasonal project fire fighters and we're having a training camp in St Arnaud in two weeks time to train new people.
"But critically, we've started planned burning this week at local forests as they're starting to dry out.
"We've started a burn in Dargile and also have a burn near Tarnagulla planned. We're also working with Dja Dja Wurrung to do a couple of cultural burns in Victoria, which is really important work too."
Mr Johnston said the CFA was preparing for every possible scenario.
"We will have a summer every year," he said. "We know that. Grass lands will dry and the potential for fires increase dramatically when that occurs.
"It would be good to have no campaigns and no large fires that really set ourselves and the community back.
"Ideally, we'd like to have nothing happen at all. But we know that that's simply not going to happen."
The community also needed to take some responsibility, Mr Johnston said.
"The message is fairly routine," he said. "Now is the time to prepare for the summer ahead. So if you need to clean up around your property, do those things.
"Check out the CFA and the DEWLP websites to understand what your responsibilities are in regards to reporting and burning. Understand what it is you need to do on extreme fire days.
"Basically, it's about just getting everything ready and in order because we may not be there to help you."
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