The Fire Danger Period will begin at 01.00am on Monday 7 December 2020 for the following municipalities in District 23 in CFA’s North East Region:
Fire restrictions have already been announced for Benalla Rural City Council and Wangaratta Rural City Council from Monday 30 November 2020.
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Victoria released on 31 August identified potential for reduced risk of campaign bushfires in East Gippsland for the 2020/21 season.
Victoria experienced below average rainfall for most of the state during winter, but above average rainfall occurred in East Gippsland.
While areas in the far south-west received rainfall well above average earlier this spring, pockets of Victoria received below-average rainfall.
For the remainder of the year and into the start of summer, we can expect above-average rainfall across Victoria due to the influence of La Niña, particularly across the northern parts and mountain regions.
Considering the outlook and current conditions, the fire season has the potential to be a grassfire-dominated season, with shorter-duration fires in grass and dry forests during hotter and windier days.
CFA reminds Victorians not to be complacent as an average fire season in this state can still be a bad one.
CFA District 23 Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Stewart Kreltszheim said there are areas in the south of District 23 and the Wangaratta and Benalla municipalities where the vegetation is still comparatively green however other areas have dried off and are ready to burn.
“Rainfall in the area has been very patchy. CFA will continue to monitor vegetation fuel moisture, implementing the summer Fire Danger Period into other areas as the bushfire risk increases,” he said.
“Now is not the time to be complacent. Even with further rain, grass and bush will continue to dry and the fire potential is further heightened by increased fuel loads and warmer weather over the next three months.
“Any rainfall we do experience in spring will continue to produce growth, which could very easily become a high fuel load throughout the summer season if not properly managed. Ensure you mitigate the risk for bushfire on your property sooner rather than later and ensure your bushfire survival plan is understood by all family members.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“While CFA and our partner agencies Fire Rescue Victoria and Forest Fire 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.”
ACFO Kreltszheim said there was still a short window of opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so.
“People need to be aware that if using fire to clean up around their properties they need to register these on 1800 668 511. So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary callouts to brigades,” he said.
“You should not burn-off when winds are high or 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.”
ACFO Kreltszheim said once the Fire Danger Period (FDP) comes into effect, CFA has a zero-tolerance approach to any fires caused by negligent behaviour.
“Expect any escaped or uncontrolled fire you start to be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.
CFA can issue permits for certain circumstances during the FDP. There are very strict conditions attached to these permits and the liability sits with the permit holder to ensure they always act safely.
During the 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 the latest restrictions will be published on this page by 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/
For more information contact CFA Media on:
1300 CFA MEDIA (24 hours) or firstname.lastname@example.org