Severe risk

Crews worked on a five-hectare fire at Birregurra last Friday after a hot tyre ignited grassland.

Colac district is facing severe fire danger tomorrow and “unprecedented” dry conditions with authorities calling in extra firefighting aircraft.

Authorities are warning the region to be vigilant as temperatures are forecast to rise to above 30 degrees Celsius tomorrow, with north to north-westerly winds reaching up to 35 kilometres an hour.

District six duty officer Peter Lowe said the Country Fire Authority was taking extra precautions and have declared a total fire ban for tomorrow.

“We’ve revoked all the permit burns for the Colac area so there are no permit burns until next Monday night because of the risk of the wind and what’s coming,” Mr Lowe said.

“We have sourced extra aircraft for the south-west, that’s how worried we are.

“Our contingency plans; it’s at our peak time in summer and we’re geared up for it.”

Mr Lowe said the damage caused by last Friday’s fire at Birregurra, which was sparked by a wayward caravan tyre with hot break disks, highlighted the “virtually zero” amount of moisture in the region’s grasslands.

“It’s unprecedented how dry the Colac area is,” he said.

“Some of the older locals and farmers are telling us it’s the driest they have ever seen it; it’s been about 16 weeks with no substantial rain.”

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded a monthly total rainfall of 9.6 millimetres at its Mount Gellibrand weather station, east of Colac, for January, while February’s total was 6mm and March’s total to 9am yesterday was 1mm.

For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.

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