Victoria is already hard at work planning for what is expected to be an active fire season this summer.
“We cannot be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to preparing for the upcoming fire season,” says the Country Fire Authority’s chief officer Steve Warrington. “This has been one of Victoria’s driest winters on record in rainfall deficiencies and this time last year the state was experiencing floods.
“While there is a lot of surface water, which means there will be grass growth and a healthy supply of water for crop growing, ground moisture has the potential to dry out quickly under dry and warm conditions.”
Steve says the state will have access to its largest-ever firefighting fleet this summer, with 49 aircraft including two large air tankers which can carry up to 15,000 litres of water, foam or retardant.
While preparations by the CFA are underway – including checking staging areas and landing sites for aircraft across the 21 districts it serves – Steve says it is important Victorians remain vigilant.
“You don’t have to live in the country to be at risk of fire. If you live near areas that have significant bush, forest, long grass or coastal scrub, then you need to plan ahead for the fire season.”
RACV’s general manager of home insurance Stacey Maher recommends people in at-risk areas prepare a ‘fire ready’ pack with important documents such as birth certificates, passports and insurance documents.
“This means it’s one less thing you need to worry about should a fire impact your region,” she says.
Stacey says up to four in five Australian homeowners and renters are underinsured for their home and contents. She urges people to ensure they’re adequately covered ahead of the fire season.
“Think about how much it would cost to replace everything in your house at today’s prices. Another important consideration is the cost to rebuild the home.
“Also ensure you keep a copy of all of your photos. After all, you can replace your house but not your memories.”