Fire threat looms beneath

FIGHTING FIRES: Group officer Don Downey and on the hose Myrtleford firefighter Frank Sacco overseeing a controlled burn in the town ahead of last year’s fire season.

THE next three months will dictate just how bad the coming fire season will be in the Ovens and Kiewa valleys, say fire authorities.

A winter of average rainfall has masked pockets of drier conditions in the North East.

But region 24 CFA operations manager Paul King said it was the coming spring that will dictate whether bushfires or grassfires pose the greatest threat this summer.

“The winter really has been divided by the Hume Freeway – to the west there has been significant rainfall, to the east and it has been about average and there are areas that recorded less than average rainfall,” he said.

“The run up to Christmas will be the key.

“If there is rain we’d expect one or two grass fires, if it stays dry then the threat of bushfires becomes greater.”

Myrtleford CFA captain and Ovens Valley deputy controller Gary Gunson said they had already been called to a grass fire.

“Just last week we had a fire on the Yackandandah Road near Morrisons Lane that was the result of an unattended roadside burn,” he said.

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