Vic authorities forecast long, hot summer

By AAP Newswire

Victorians are being told to prepare for a long, hot summer with heightened bushfire risk across the state's east.

East Gippsland has been struggling with record low rainfall and faces the biggest threat, with the Country Fire Authority forced to declare an early start to fire restrictions for the second year running.

The restrictions will be in place from September 23.

"It has been cold, it has been wet in some parts of the state but now is the time to start thinking about your preparedness," Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp told reporters on Wednesday.

The commissioner met with emergency services, the government and supporting agencies earlier on Wednesday to organise aircraft, equipment and staffing for the summer season.

There will be 50 helicopters and planes, two large air tankers and two air cranes at the ready throughout the season, with another 100 aircraft which can supplement the fleet.

Overnight waterbombing helicopters will again be deployed following successful trials last summer.

"We are well planned and well prepared," Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville said.

"The CFA are particularly on the ground, hosting community meetings, doorknocking vulnerable people about the fire risk and the need to plan and be prepared for this particular summer."

Ms Neville said forecasts of below-average rainfall and hotter conditions underscore the need for vigilance.

"We've also seen obviously in Queensland and New South Wales how ferocious some of those fires have been and how early they have been," she said.

"Victoria has to be as ready as possible and as planned as possible, particularly in light of potentially having to work closely with other states."

Both NSW and Queensland have seen massive bushfires only weeks into the fire season, with blazes razing homes and more than 100,000 hectares of land.

Heatwaves, thunderstorm asthma and drownings are also a concern during the season.

Last summer was Victoria's hottest summer on record.