With the coming fire season being described as ‘above normal’ the Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed raised a question in parliament this week regarding fire management.
Addressing a concern from constituents in the Barmah National Park area, Ms Sheed asked the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville what preparations had been made for the forthcoming fire season.
She referred to The Southern Australia Seasonal Outlook 2015-2016 released by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC that indicated most of Victoria will see an ‘above normal’ season due to the lack of rain and drying conditions across southern Australia.
“The Barmah National Park is in my electorate and I have been made aware of the risks posed by the current fuel load should there be high fire danger days with strong winds.
“The locals from the Barmah area know the landscape only too well and are fearful of the inferno that could result in such circumstances endangering not only the Ramsar listed National Park but also adjoining farmland and towns,” Ms Sheed said.
In discussions gained at her Community Catch-up meetings with the Barmah CFA, Ms Sheed saw for herself the fire danger issue including lack of access to the park in a time of danger.
Historically, the August to October period is the wettest time of the year in Victoria, and it sets the scene for fuel growth and fuel conditions over the summer. Current climatic signals indicate a slightly better than average chance of above average rainfall and below average daily maximum temperatures across most of the state, leading to an improved outlook for grass growth. However, given the long-term rainfall deficits, significant rain would be required over the spring period to alter the outlook for an above normal fire potential for most of Victoria.
Extract from The Southern Australia Seasonal Outlook 2015-2016
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