Cold snap creates fire fuel

9th August 2017 12:11 PM
The mild winter means a late start to fire season. The mild winter means a late start to fire season. Michael Nolan

IF YOU failed to rug up last night you would have felt a chill, as the night time temperature dipped below freezing.

The average across the district was -1.6 degrees, just a point shy of our coldest evening for the year.

While tonight is expected to be equally cold, meteorologists suggest winter is starting to wrap up.

This is good news for a our rural fire crews, as more frosts means more dead grass and more frequent fires.

The Brooklands Rural Brigade First officer Ian Richardson said itit had been a calm start for the 2017 fire season.

"Up to about two or three weeks ago we hadn't had enough cold to cut the grass and we couldn't do enough controlled burns,” he said.

"Basically only the love grass would burn.”

"As for fires that got away, we're down on the last few years but it's starting to catch up now”

This last cold snap has increased the danger.

"We've had enough frost to get a grass fire going anywhere,” Mr Richardson said.

The problem areas are mostly around acreages that don't run cattle and therefore have a surplus of grass.

The bigger farms are reasonable safe.

"(On) most of the grazing country, there is a fire danger but there isn't the body of dry grass to carry hot and damaging fires,” Mr Richardson said.

In the weekend about 15 crews were called to a large fire near Blackbutt, which burnt up about 40 hectares of grassland.

"They hit it with a lot of man power and knocked it pretty well before it turned into a major event,” Mr Richardson said.

Weatherzone meteorologist Rob Sharpe said tomorrow's cold snap would be the last for some time, potentially even the last for winter.

"Leading into next week we'll have substantially warmer conditions with day time temperatures reaching 27 degrees and this will last well into next week,” he said.

"The nights will drop as low as 4 degrees, but a number will be much warmer.”

Mr Sharpe said there were a number of number of factors contributing to our mild winter.

"There has been fewer significant cold fronts and the ones that have come through have stayed further south,” Mr Sharpe said.

"We've also had generally drier conditions as well.”