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Fire restrictions begin in north-west
The Fire Danger Period will begin at 1am on Monday, 19 October 2015 for the following municipalities in CFA’s North West Region:
- Swan Hill Rural City Council
- Mildura Rural City Council
- Shire of Buloke
- Yarriambiack Rural Shire
CFA District 18 Operations Manager John Bigham said anyone planning to reduce fuel by burning off had only a small window of time to get the work done. He also urged people to register their burn-offs by calling 1800 668 511 and to stay mindful of windy conditions.
“Out of control burn-offs and unregistered burn offs have been a major headache for brigades,” he said.
“Just because the Fire Danger Period is yet to start doesn’t mean it’s safe to burn off. You should avoid burning off when high winds are forecast – not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.”
Mr Bigham said this fire season CFA would be taking a zero tolerance approach to any fires resulting from negligent behaviour.
“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by police,” he said.
“Even if you have a permit to use fire over the Fire Danger Period, make sure you read the conditions carefully. Failing to follow just one of those conditions can still leave you open to prosecution.”
Mr Bigham said recent warm and dry conditions and rapid rate of grass curing meant the Fire Danger Period and the fire season was starting earlier this year than in 2014.
“So far all indicators are pointing to a challenging fire season ahead,” he said.
“While CFA does everything it can, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.
“By all means get out and about and enjoy the longer and warmer days, or camping around the Murray Sunset but at the same time respect the restrictions around fires in the open air.”
During the Fire Danger Period (FDP) fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer. FDPs are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
Victorians can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” information at cfa.vic.gov.au/can or by calling 1800 240 667. All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFireBurn-off notification line on 1800 668 511
Fire Danger Period information:
- A written permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation during the FDP. This permit may be issued by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer or the CFA District Office. Please check with your municipality in the first instance.
- Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $18,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (to view complete conditions visit cfa.vic.gov.au/can)
- The use of an incinerator, chainsaw/lawn mower, welding/grinding equipment and vehicles that come in contact with vegetation and machinery with an internal combustion/heat engine are permitted provided conditions are followed.
- Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/farming – this information is important especially for new farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers.
- A Total Fire Ban declaration means no fires can be lit for the declared district for that day unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued. This applies irrespective of the Fire Restriction status for a given municipality. Further details at cfa.vic.gov.au/can