The Fire Danger Period will begin at 01.00am on Monday, 29 October 2018 for the following municipalities and resort management areas in CFA’s North East Region:
- Benalla Rural City (District 23)
- Mansfield Shire (District 23)
- Mount Buller and Mount Stirling Resorts (District 23)
- Wangaratta Rural City (District 23)
CFA District 23 Operations Manager Stewart Kreltszheim said the Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Southern Australia released in early September suggested the fire season in Victoria will start earlier than usual and be more active than normal due to warmer and drier conditions.
Indeed, parts of Victoria have already experienced grass and bushfires and when the Fire Danger Period was introduced in parts of Gippsland on 10 September, it was the earliest date on record.
29 October is one of the earliest dates the Fire Danger Period has been introduced in District 23, and at least two weeks earlier than usual. Historically, the Fire Danger period has usually started in mid- to late November or December in the district.
“The warmer and drier than average weather over recent months, teamed with recent rainfall causing growth in pasture and roadsides means residents need to be prepared for the imminent fire season,” Operations Manager Kreltszheim said.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does occur, 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.”
Operations Manager Kreltszheim said there was still a small window of opportunity to clean up your property if you hadn’t already done so.
“Out of control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs are a major and avoidable headache for brigades,” he said.
“Avoid burning off when high winds are forecast - not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.
“For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council.”
CFA takes a zero-tolerance approach to any unauthorised fires or fires resulting from negligent behaviour subject to police investigation.
“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 may leave you open to prosecution,” said Operations Manager Kreltszheim
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.
Fire Danger Period information and restrictions are published at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period. Please note that the latest restrictions will be published on this page the Tuesday before they come into force.
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/