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Heightened bushfire risk

Heightened bushfire risk

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Hot day warning from Gippsland Regional Controller

Several bushfires continue to burn across East Gippsland with more than 32,400ha on fire and local communities facing a long and challenging summer.

Regional Controller Darrin McKenzie says that even under the milder conditions seen over the past week, fires have remained active. The extremely dry conditions across East Gippsland has our community and our fire services facing a fire risk in early December that we would normally expect at the height of summer in February.

“We are urging the community to be aware of dry, hot and windy conditions expected today and the potential for increased fire activity and risk to the community. There is certainly potential for fires to spread today, given the very high temperatures and wind speeds predicted,” he said.

“We’re ensuring our crews are as well prepared as we can, but it’s extremely important that the community is ready, not only for today, but for months to come.

“Conditions are extremely dry across East Gippsland, recent rainfall and cooler temperatures have had little effect on existing fires.

"Indeed the region would need over 200mm of rain over 4 or 5 days to significantly reduce the bushfire risk. That type of rain event is highly unlikely,” Mr McKenzie explained.

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Fire agencies are working closely with communities to prepare for the fire risk. Several actions are being taken to protect the community.

“Due to the extreme conditions and fires in surrounding areas, Buchan Caves, including camping and day visits, has been temporarily closed. This is a precaution to ensure visitors’ safety.

“It is very important that the community understands that we expect to have bushfires throughout the landscape and our communities from now, through to Christmas and long into the summer.

"A mild weather day here and there will not reduce the overall risk.

"It is vital that the community remain vigilant.

"Do not become complacent with cooler weather and be fully prepared for days like today with warmer windy weather increasing bushfire risk,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

Continue to stay engaged and vigilant and seek information from trusted sources – including VicEmergency, local radio, and other community information channels.

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