Goulburn Valley could face worse than normal bushfire conditions during the summer months.By Darren Linton
Spring rainfall will be the determining factor in the Goulburn and north-east regions’ bush and grass fire risk this summer.
Some of the most populous parts of Australia could again face worse than normal fire conditions this summer, according to the Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook.
May’s heavy rainfall led to abundant grass growth, while above average temperatures have dried out forests.
The report predicts Victorian forests will be more flammable than normal due to the lingering effect of last summer’s extreme dryness.
The higher than normal fire danger extents through the Barmah forest, but for the rest of the Goulburn and north-east, the timing and severity of grass fires may depend on spring rainfall patterns, according to the report released yesterday at a bushfire conference in Melbourne.
Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said rainfall had been reasonable in recent months, but would not be enough to reduce the long-term rainfall deficit.
‘‘Significant underlying dryness is likely to continue in many western and central forests, which means we could see high fire potential in forests,’’ he said.
Mr Lapsley said grasslands in the west and the north-east of the state could grow significantly after spring rains.
The expectations are for average to above-average grass growth for the north-east of the state, based on receiving average to above-average rain during spring.
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