The Fire Danger Period (FDP) will begin at 01.00am on Monday 10 December 2018 for the following municipalities in CFA’s South West Region:
- Glenelg Shire Council
- Moyne Shire Council
- Southern Grampians Shire Council
- Warrnambool City Council
In an unusual start to the bushfire season, Gippsland experienced bushfires as early as August, and fire restrictions were introduced in the municipalities of Wellington and East Gippsland on 10 September – the earliest date on record.
CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington warned Victorians not to be complacent despite recent rainfall across much of the state.
“Some areas of the state, particularly in Gippsland, are extremely dry and will need many weeks of above-average rain before drought-stressed plants start to recover,” he said.
“While the recent rain has made fuel less flammable in the short term, the current weather outlook indicates a return to dry conditions and elevated fire risk.
“This season still has the potential to be in line with Victoria’s driest fire seasons.”
He said the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest outlook, released last week, shows most of Australia is likely to see a hotter than normal summer period, while Western Australia, Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory look set to be drier than average.
In Victoria, which has experienced one of the top 10 driest springs since records began in 1900, many parts are still extremely dry despite recent rain.
In the lead-up to the FDP, reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“While CFA and its partner agencies Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management, DELWP and Emergency Management Victoria are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires,” Chief Officer Warrington.
He said once fire restrictions were in force, any fires that have started from negligent behaviour would be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police.
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/warnings-restrictions/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.
All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-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 $19,000 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/warnings-restrictions/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/plan-prepare/farms – 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/warnings-restrictions/can/