CLIMATE "shift" means south-west Victorians need to prepare for worsening extreme weather, according to CFA district six operations officer Mark Gunning.
He said it was more important than ever before to have a fire plan in place.
"The research is telling us that we're seeing larger areas drying out, so fire fuels are available and they're staying drier longer," Mr Gunning said.
"From a risk management sense, the likelihood of being affected is greater if you're spreading the opportunity out over a longer period and a bigger area."
Mr Gunning said the St Patrick's Day fires were an example of the changing fire conditions.
"If you have a look at last year there were major fires under cooler conditions at night - there is no doubt the types of emergencies and the scale of them is ramping up."
Mr Gunning's comments come as a group of 23 former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders released an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
"We, the undersigned, who are former senior Australian fire and emergency service leaders, have observed how Australia is experiencing increasingly catastrophic extreme weather events that are putting lives, properties and livelihoods at greater risk and overwhelming our emergency services," the letter states.
In the letter, they state bushfire seasons are lasting longer and longer, the number of days of very high to catastrophic bushfire danger are increasing across much of Australia and the opportunity to carry out hazard reduction burns are reducing because warmer, drier winters mean prescribed fires can often be too hard to control.
Rising greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas is worsening extreme weather and putting people in danger.Former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins
The 23 signatories - which include representatives from each state and territory - to the letter want the prime minister to meet with a delegation of ex-emergency services leaders to discuss the escalating climate change risks.
They also want a federal parliamentary inquiry into whether emergency services are adequately resourced to cope and funding for strategic national emergency management assets, like aircraft.
The group called on the state and territory governments to increase resources to enable better fuel reduction, focus on climate change adaption and mitigation programs, reduce emissions and stop cutting emergency service budgets through "efficiency dividends".
"We are deeply concerned about the lack of climate action at a national level and felt obligated to speak out," former NSW Fire and Rescue commissioner Greg Mullins said in a statement.
"In the last year we've seen unseasonal fires in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia, floods and twin cyclones in parts of northern Australia, longer bushfire danger periods and fires burning in rainforests.
"Rising greenhouse gas pollution from the burning of coal, oil and gas is worsening extreme weather and putting people in danger."
Mr Gunning urged community members to have a fire plan in place and to be prepared for the possible ramifications of worsening extreme weather.
He said while the changing conditions were a concern, emergency services were better equipped than ever to respond to incidents in a timely manner.
"There's no doubt the number of fires are increasing, but the good thing is we're getting to fires quicker."
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