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Fire chief: Be travel-wise on Australia Day long weekend

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CFA has urged holidaymakers planning on making the most of this Australia Day long weekend to stay vigilant and not let complacency creep in as they enjoy carefree summer days.

Fire chief: Be travel-wise on Australia Day long weekend

CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said Fire Danger Ratings of Severe were forecast for large sections of the state on Friday when many Victorians head off for Australia Day long weekend trips.

“We’re keeping a close eye on the conditions so that Victorians can have the best information to make sound decisions about their safety. Fire Danger Ratings tell you how dangerous a fire would be if one started,” he said.

“Victoria is an amazing place and there’s so much to discover across our state, but it’s also one of the most fire prone regions in the world and the only way that you can guarantee your safety during a bushfire is not being in it. Waiting until one starts can mean risking your life.”

“Whether you’re heading for the beach, bush or rivers and lakes, make sure you know what fire district you will be holidaying in – and which ones you will pass through along the way.”

Chief Officer Warrington urged holidaymakers to make it a habit to check the Fire Danger Ratings every day and knowing which rating is their trigger to leave.

“If you haven’t already, download the VicEmergency app and make sure you use the feature to set up watch zones for the location you’re visiting, as well as for areas you’ll be travelling through.

“When arriving at your destination, talk to locals and find out where to go if you get caught out by a bushfire and are unable to safely leave the area.

“Do not drive into or through high risk areas on hot, dry, windy days. Plan an alternate route or delay your travel if possible.

“CFA is part of the fabric of country Victoria and we want nothing more than to welcome you to enjoy the best of what it has to offer, but make sure you stay safe.”

Stay safe while travelling in bushfire areas:

  • Check the conditions for your destination before you go, listen to local radio for warnings and advice while you’re on the road, and check conditions regularly throughout your stay.
  • Download the VicEmergency app, visit emergency.vic.gov.au, and save the VicEmergency Hotline (1800 226 226) into your mobile phone.
  • Never travel into bush or grassland areas where a Code Red has been forecast.
  • Grassfires can move at speeds of up to 25 km/h and jump highways. Be aware of grassfires when you’re travelling. All fires are dangerous
  • You may not get phone reception across regional Victoria, always check weather conditions and your fire risk before you leave home
  • Do not drive into or through high risk areas on hot, dry, windy days.
  • If travelling to a different part of the state for holiday or work check the fire danger ratings for all districts along your route and at your destination. Create a temporary watch zone on the VicEmergency App for the location you’re visiting
  • Seek information from locals, or an accredited Visitor Information Centre who may be able to suggest alternative holiday activities on high risk days Ensure you comply with any local requirements regarding campfires and BBQs in addition to the advice that can be found at cfa.vic.gov.au