The Goulburn Valley could be in for an earlier and more intense fire season following the release of a bushfire outlook map highlighting most of the eastern coast.
Released last week by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, the seasonal bushfire outlook for southern Australia predicts locations from central-west Victoria to northern Queensland could suffer through a hotter and earlier season.
An unusually mild, dry winter paired with forecasts for spring has caused those predictions.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a swing towards more average rainfall levels in spring, but the shift might not happen until well into the season.
Temperatures are likely to remain above average, continuing a pattern that saw Australia post its warmest ever winter for daytime conditions by some margin.
Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said there had been extremely dry conditions, highlighting severe rainfall deficits persistent across the Great Dividing Range in Victoria.
‘‘Forests in these areas may experience sudden changes in fire activity with the onset of warmer or windier weather,’’ he said.