By Oliver Lees
Victoria Police is urging everyone to remain vigilant toward the risk of fire this summer despite a wetter than average meteorological outlook.
Earlier this month the Bureau of Meteorology announced that La Niña had been established in the tropical Pacific, meaning Australia is destined for a wetter, windier summer period.
Despite the announcement, which may come as a welcome announcement for people living in fire prone areas, Victoria Police has launched its Operation Safeguard.
The annual operation seeks to reduce the number of circumstances where a fire is intentionally or recklessly lit.
According to Victoria Police data for the 12 months prior to June this year, 21 such offences were recorded across the state.
These offences related to a range of regular circumstances, such as burning off activities, campfires, use of tools and bonfires.
Victoria Police assistant commissioner of state emergencies and support command Michael Grainger said these types of incidents can spring up easily.
“Now is not the time to be complacent – summer in Victoria means the risk of fire is imminent. In hot, dry and windy conditions, fires can start quickly, are fast-moving and can have devastating impacts,” he said.
“Preventing bushfires is everyone’s responsibility – we’re asking the community to be mindful of their activities during the summer period and act responsibly – it could be your actions that result in a devastating bushfire, causing loss of life and property.”