Victorians are urged to prepare early for the upcoming fire season, by talking to family and friends and developing a comprehensive fire plan.

Fire Action Week, which is running from October 7-14 was officially launched by the Victorian Government this week.

Warmer and drier-than-average conditions suggest the Victorian fire season is likely to start earlier than usual this year, and be more active than normal.

Member for North Victoria, Mark Gepp said the week was a perfect opportunity for people to speak to family, friends and neighbours about what to do on hot, dry and windy days, including when to leave and where to go to stay safe.

Mr Gepp said fire agencies have started their preparations earlier this year due to prevailing weather and climate conditions, and all Victorians are being asked to do the same.

He said Fire Action Week was also the perfect time to prepare your property for the summer, by taking simple steps such as:

·         cutting grass to less than 10 centimetres

·         removing flammable items from decks and verandas before days of heightened fire danger

·         using pebbles or rocks in your garden, not flammable mulch

·         keeping gutters clear of leaves

·         disposing of dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark from around your home and property.

Mr Gepp said people should check the Fire Danger Rating for their area every day, and know which rating is the trigger to enact their plan.

If the Fire Danger Rating is Code Red, Extreme or Severe, you are risking lives if you wait and see what happens. Leaving early is always the safest option to protect you and your family.

Victorians can stay up-to-date with emergency warnings by tuning into Victoria’s emergency broadcasters including ABC local radio and Sky News, phoning the VicEmergency hotline 1800 226 226, visiting emergency.vic.gov.au, and downloading the VicEmergency App.

MrGepp said “now is the time to take action and ensure you, your family are ready for what is forecast to be a long, hot summer.”

“Our emergency management personnel have started their preparations, so it’s now up to all Victorians to understand their local fire risk and develop a fire plan.”

“There are some simple steps you can take right now, such as downloading the VicEmergency App and doing some basic jobs around the home, including trimming grass and clearing