Just in case you’ve missed the signs, Monday November 19, 2018 is the official start of the fire season here in Victoria.
That means no more burning off. Period. After the 19th, you will only have the weekly green bin collection to get rid of fallen branches, twigs and gum leaves. Given that eucalypts continue to drop branches and leaves right through the fire season, you’ll need the green bin space for new flammable material, not old.
That November 19th deadline also means you have just 3 more days to get rid of the fuel load around your houses. Unfortunately, the only day that will be really perfect for burning off is Sunday. According to the Bureau of Meteorology [BOM], Sunday the 18th of November will be:
Sunny. Light winds and afternoon bayside seabreezes around 10 km/h.
Today will be:
Mostly sunny. Light winds becoming west to southwesterly 15 to 25 km/h later this morning then turning southerly 20 to 30 km/h during the afternoon.
Tomorrow is supposed to be:
Morning cloud then afternoon sunny periods. Winds southerly 20 to 30 km/h becoming light in the late evening.
For both predictions, it’s not the heat that matters, it’s the wind, and the wind doesn’t have to be a northerly. The fire that destroyed two houses in Warrandyte on February 9, 2014 could have wiped out the whole township because a really strong southerly was pushing the flames towards the village.
What constitutes a strong wind? I take no chances. To me, 25 km per hour is enough to make me twitchy. If I can hear the ‘freight train’ sound of gum trees wooshing in the wind, I’m lowering the shutters and checking my pumps.
From all indicators, this fire season is going to be a bad one so please become a little paranoid. And take this last chance to burn off.