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Out-of-control burn-offs prompt warning
CFA is urging Victorians to take extreme care when burning off after responding to a high volume of out-of-control private burn-offs since the end of fire restrictions in the majority of municipalities.
CFA State Duty Officer James Dullard said dryer than normal conditions for this time of year have caught many residents by surprise.
CFA has responded to more than 40 burn-offs on private property in the northeast of the state alone in the past week.
“We understand residents want to take advantage of milder conditions to clean up their properties, but the effects of an out-of-control fire can be devastating,” Mr Dullard said.
“It is vital people do the right thing by checking conditions, complying with local by-laws and registering their burn offs.
“Some parts of the state tomorrow will be warm and windy. If a fire is left unattended in windy conditions it can spread quickly and put neighbouring properties, homes and bushland in danger.
“It is absolutely essential that you have enough water on hand to put out a fire. There isn’t enough time to run back to your house if your fire gets out of control. You also need to leave a three-metre fire break, free of flammable materials around any burn-off.”
Burning off undergrowth and other vegetation is generally permitted outside of the Fire Danger Period, however landowners should register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511.
Property owners must be aware they have legal obligations when burning off and failing to comply with local council by-laws may lead to a fine.
Mr Dullard said registering burn-offs with ESTA on 1800 668 511 would ensure the burn could be added to the statewide register.
“All calls to Triple Zero about smoke sightings are cross-checked with that register, and firefighters are called out if nothing is listed for that location,” Mr Dullard said.
“False alarm calls to unregistered burn-offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and other emergencies.”
Keep burn-offs safe:
- Check regulations set down by your local council
- Register your burn by phoning 1800 668 511
- Notify neighbours at least two hours before starting the burn
- Check the weather forecast for the day of the burn and the days afterwards
- Establish a fire break of no less than three metres cleared of all flammable material
- Make sure there are enough people to monitor, contain and extinguish the burn safely