A COMMONWEALTH study has revealed local regions are at an elevated risk of bushfire this season, with 77 per cent of Torquay and 99 per cent of the Bellarine under threat.
Federal Member for Corangamite Libby Coker met with CFA Bellarine Commander Ian Beswick, and CFA Portarlington Fire Captain Lachie Thompson, who together urged residents to plan ahead with hot and dry conditions over the summer expected to hit the region.
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Summer 2023, recently released by the National Council for fire and emergency services, predicts spring’s record-breaking dry conditions and warmer-than-average temperatures are expected to continue well into the New Year.
In conjunction with the report, a new tool, launched by 360info at Monash University, shows the bushfire risk for each individual suburb.
Across the Surf Coast, the study shows a staggering 100 per cent of the Bells Beach region under threat, 99 per cent of Bellbrae, 97 per cent of Breamlea, 80 per cent of Jan Juc, and 77 per cent of Torquay.
For the Bellarine, it shows 99 per cent of the Bellarine region under threat, 100 per cent of Mannerim, 94 per cent of Drysdale and 86 per cent of Portarlington.
Ms Coker said the report revealed significant rainfall over the past few years has led to more vegetation growth and difficult conditions to complete hazard reduction burns.
The conditions would continue to dry out fuel loads in areas across Australia, including those affected in 2019-20 Black Summer season, increasing the risk of large bush and grassfires.
Ms Coker said the outlook is a clear reminder that all residents need to be prepared.
“The seasonal outlook helps to identify areas at higher risk, and also assists local emergency services to plan and preposition resources as we head into summer,” Ms Coker said.
“A lot of people moved to our region post-Covid, which means larger populations that may be less familiar with bushfire and heatwave preparation.
“I urge people to be aware of the local risk, update their bushfire plans and pack emergency and evacuation kits.”
Make or review your Bushfire Survival Plan at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/bushfireplan
For further information see emergency.vic.gov.au