We are two weeks into autumn and yet we are still reporting on grassfires.
Whether this is because of carelessness, weather conditions, or larger things such as climate change or a combination of all these things is not certain.
But what we can be certain about is that the fire season is not yet over and that we all still need to be vigilant and follow the usual safety advice.
As yesterday’s temperature reached an uncomfortable 35°C at 4pm , Shepparton district firefighters were battling grassfires to the north of the city.
The fires on Shepparton-Barmah Rd caused smoke and disruption, but thankfully no property destruction or serious injury, although one firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation.
Yesterday’s incident does signal that we are still living with fire restrictions.
These can start as early as October and run into May.
It all depends on the amount of rain, grassland drying rate and other local conditions.
Fire restrictions for the Greater Shepparton district were announced last year and they run from November 20 to May 1.
So we have a while to go before we are officially out of the danger zone.
While yesterday was not a day of total fire ban in the Northern Country fire district, the fire danger rating was high and so commonsense would dictate that care should be taken.
While no cause has yet been determined for yesterday’s fires, they do serve to remind us of what living in one of the most fire-prone parts of the world means on a daily basis.
Fire restrictions mean you cannot light a fire in the open air unless you have a permit or comply with certain requirements.
There are also restrictions covering the use of chainsaws, lawnmowers, farm machinery, incinerators, and scare guns.
The restrictions are detailed and listed on the Country Fire Authority’s website www.cfa.vic.gov.au — so there is no excuse for being unaware.
We are continually thankful for the service that firefighters provide to our communities — paid and unpaid — and we salute their efforts to keep our communities safe during what seems to be an uncomfortably long period of hot and dry weather.