Victoria's bushfire front could shift from the state's east to the west this summer without rain spurred by La Nina, as authorities also warn Melbourne isn't out of the woods.
State emergency chiefs gathered to update the public on preparations for the 2020-21 season, after Monday's release of the Australian seasonal bushfire outlook for September to November.
It found this season will be driven by different phenomena to the previous two, with an active La Nina likely to bring plenty of wet weather.
With a 70 per cent likelihood of La Nina forming by the end of the year, a negative Indian Ocean Dipole also makes a wet spring more probable for Victoria and the rest of eastern Australia.
Emergency Management Victoria Commissioner Andrew Crisp acknowledged the outlook painted a "very different picture" to last year's quarterly update, which noted above-average fire conditions for eastern Victoria.
The forecast proved despairingly true as vast tracts of East Gippsland and Victoria's northeast were devastated by fires in December and January.
"Even though it's been some time, it's probably etched in our brains and memories in relation to the impact on those particular communities," Mr Crisp told reporters on Monday.
"We'll be thinking about them as we move into this particular summer."
East Gippsland was poised for a reprieve this summer because of stronger winter rainfall, Mr Crisp said.
But the Mallee, Wimmera and state's far southwest have not enjoyed the same levels of wet weather and will need more to eradicate some underlying dryness.
"It does present a risk as we move into summer," the EMV boss said.
"However, there is a La Nina alert and so there's every indication we're going to see more rain.
"At this stage, it's pretty much a 'wait and see' in relation to what the summer and what the fire season will look like."
Forest Fire Management Victoria was undertaking planned burns in all three western regions on Monday, and neither rain nor COVID-19 will slow down hazard reduction plans this spring.
"We will evolve the planned burn program to suit the year," FFMV chief fire officer Chris Hardman said.
"Whatever Mother Nature is throwing at us, it will open certain windows and close others."
Although grass and crop fires are set to feature during the early stage of the season, Mr Hardman said there was "enormous potential" for significant one-day bushfire events in Melbourne after a week of hot and dry weather.
Meanwhile, Country Fire Authority acting chief officer Garry Cook said their volunteers had been issued documentation on how to safely conduct planned burns and other activities amid the pandemic.
Mr Cook said the CFA was consulting with the heads of NSW and SA's rural fire services to ensure border closures don't hamper responses to emergencies that fall on either side of states lines.
Three months out from summer, the EMV commissioner is urging people to download the VicEmergency app.
"It's never too early to start preparing," Mr Crisp said.