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Planned burns and the Fire Safety Pledge

By: Euan Ferguson

  11.23 AM 5 November, 2015

Views: 1309

CFA planned burns and burn-off ignition approval procedure

On 11 October 2015 I issued an interim advice to ensure heightened caution and appropriate authorisation regarding all burns planned, authorised, conducted and led by CFA. Planned burning is a very important bushfire risk mitigation tool that has been and will continue to be used by CFA and DELWP. Following this interim advice, I now reinforce the following procedures in relation to CFA conducted planned burns:

All proposed planned burns must be assessed using the Planned Burning Complexity Rating Guide and subsequently approved by the Operations Manager or delegate, in accordance with SOP 9.39.

Once approval of the Burn Plan has been given, there will be two distinct Ignition authorisation procedures depending on the fuel type and burn duration.

1. Small roadside burns, simple grassland burns, stubble burns, pile burns-offs, burns not involving long duration fuels may be authorised by the RDO or delegate.

These burns are considered lower risk due to the short burn residence time.

2. Forest and scrub burns with heavy fuel loads MUST be approved by the Assistant Chief Officer via the Operations Manager or Rostered Duty Officer (RDO).

These burns are considered higher risk because of the presence of bark fuels and tree cover, and long duration burn times.

The Assistant Chief Officer or RDO in considering the burn ignition approval MUST review the Burn Plan and consider the following before making a determination:

• All pre-burn works identified in the Burn Plan have been completed.
• Traffic Management arrangements are in place and notifications have been completed.
• Weather conditions pre and a minimum of four (4) days post burn are well within prescription.
• Fuel moisture content will be within prescriptions.
• Perimeter control lines sufficient to contain expected fire behaviour.
• An adequate contingency plan for burn escape has been put in place.
• Existing demand on CFA resources from other incidents or burns.
• Adequate post burn patrol can be maintained for as long as required (including thermal imaging camera checking where available).
• Patrol resources are independent of the burn operation.
• Water points are within reasonable travel time from the burn.
• The fuel hazard adjacent to burn (load, moisture content and arrangement).
• Risk mitigation for assets within 500 metres of the burn.

If in considering all information, further guidance is required, the ACO should contact Deputy Chief Officer Alen Slijepcevic and/or the State Agency Commander. This procedure remains in place until otherwise advised. The content of this procedure will be captured in SOP 9.39 currently out for consultation.

Fire Safety Pledge

CFA is encouraging all Victorians to take the Fire Safety Pledge before 3 December at When taking the pledge, members of the public can select the specific fire safety actions they will take in order to reduce their risk and better prepare for the threat of fire.

Those taking the pledge can also select a local CFA brigade to support allowing for a brigade competition across three different categories. You can check out the Brigade Leader Boards at

Last Updated: 10 December 2015