SOARING temperatures are expected to heighten the fire risk in grassland areas this summer.
Predictions by the Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre show there is a risk of above average fire activity for much of NSW and South Australia, while Victoria can expect a normal level of fire risk.
However, CRC research director Dr Richard Thornton said high temperatures forecast this summer by the Bureau of Meteorology could increase the fire danger.
The latest BOM seasonal outlook shows a 65-75 per cent chance of exceeding the median maximum temperatures across much of Victoria and southeast South Australia this summer.
"With the breaking drought in 2010 and 2011 what we started to see was there were very large areas of grass growing through the centre of Australia," Dr Thornton said. "What we saw last year was extensive fires through central Queensland and south NSW and into Western Australia.
"This year's seasonal outlook sees a similar pattern."
Dr Thornton said a "normal" prediction could still mean substantial amounts of fire.
"A couple of hot days and suddenly we see the grassfires take off," he said.
He said it was important for the public to be aware of the risk as many fire-prone areas were remote and might get little warning.
A seasonal prediction by the Bushfire CRC says authorities are monitoring grassland in the Mallee, Wimmera and South West.