Firies to drive home danger warning

FIRE authorities will try to educate ill-informed travellers about bushfires in preparation for the growing risk of grass fires this summer.

Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley said people unfamiliar with their surroundings could easily get caught out in the open or on roads during grass fires.

Mr Lapsley said a warm August was among the reasons for the high grass-fire risk in central and north-western Victoria.

Mr Lapsley said the focus on travellers would include business people who regularly drive to country Victoria.

The strategy comes as the Country Fire Authority’s chief warned that complacency about bushfires had reached worrying levels in fire-prone areas.

CFA chief officer Euan Ferguson said recent surveys showed three quarters of households in fire-prone areas had failed to prepare a written bushfire survival plan.

Mr Ferguson said residents should not depend on fire fighters to save them during a major fire.

Country Victoria residents and farmers should start preparing their properties against fire now, Mr Ferguson said.

Meanwhile police said they will conduct patrols and community education sessions in a blitz on arsonists. Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said police would visit shopping centres, schools and homes to urge people to report suspicious behaviour.

“People who commit bushfire arson are not always strangers, they often live and work in the local community,” he said.

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