Along with the rest of the east coast, the Goulburn Valley is preparing for one of the earliest, driest and more intense fire seasons on record.
Shepparton CFA station officer Peter Bell said the vast majority of the eastern coast was preparing for above-average bushfire risks this year, echoing sentiments announced last month by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.
In its seasonal outlook, the CRC said a record warm and dry winter had left fuel loads dry across most of southern Australia, increasing the bushfire risk.
Mr Bell said local firefighters were encouraging all residents in regional centres and rural locations to clean up their properties prior to the fire-danger period.
He said fire prevention officers were currently working to reduce fire risk, inspecting blocks across the region as well as properties and farms in rural areas.
‘‘According to all information available, it’s going to be a hotter and drier this year, and a longer fire season, and you can see a lot of the landscape starting to dry out now,’’ Mr Bell said.
‘‘But if people are diligent and do their proper cautions, it cuts down that risk that is out there for everyone.’’
Dozens of fires broke out across NSW on Wednesday, but Mr Bell said there was currently no serious risk to Victoria, as it often followed seasonal patterns in South Australia.
He also said, while anywhere could be at risk of fire, the Goulburn Valley was often at less of a risk due to its flat landscape.
‘‘We’re always going to have a fire season and bushfires, but how big they get depends on the diligence of people who have done their fire prevention work,’’ he said.
■If you would like to read more about fire prevention, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au