The Fire Danger Period (FDP) will begin at 01.00am on Monday, 9 January 2023 for the following municipalities in CFA’s North West Region:
- Melton City Council
- Wyndham City Council
- Nillumbik Shire Council
- City of Whittlesea
- Banyule City Council
- Hume City Council
FDP restrictions already apply across parts of Victoria and CFA will be introducing further FDPs for municipalities in the coming weeks based on assessments of the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and local conditions.
The return of a La Nina weather pattern has led to widespread rainfall and flooding in parts of the state, particularly in October, however that doesn’t mean communities can become complacent about the increasing fire risk this season.
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for summer identified potential for increased grassfire conditions for the 2022/23 fire season, due to significant grass growth and delayed harvest activities.
Based on the latest outlook, the fire season is expected to be normal in Victoria, except for parts of central, north east and eastern Victoria where the potential is below normal.
CFA District 14 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tim Holland said the crops and grass in the paddocks and the grass along the roadsides are green now, but they will dry out.
“Widespread rainfall in winter and spring has led to high fuel loads across the district and we can expect to see grassfires start this fire season,” he said.
“It has been a few years now since we have seen so much spring grass growth through the paddocks and grasslands which will provide that higher fuel loads right through summer”.
“As we experience more warmer weather, we will see this grass dry out over the next few weeks. This dry grass will burn, fire will spread which means we could see larger grass fires around the outer suburbs of Melbourne.”
While CFA firefighters are preparing for the bushfire season, they are urging the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.
Residents in the affected municipalities should take this opportunity ahead of the FDP to reduce the fuel loads around their home, slashing the grass and clean up their property.
If you are using fire to clean up your property ahead of the FDP, you should notify authorities of the burn-off at the Fire Permits Victoria website at www.firepermits.vic.gov.au, or by calling ESTA on 1800 668 511. No burning off is permitted during the FDP without a Permit to Burn, which can be applied for through the Fire Permits Victoria website.
There are very strict conditions attached to these permits and the liability sits with the permit holder to ensure they always act safely.
Monitor weather conditions and do not burn-off during days of high winds. More information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area can be found by consulting your local council.
More information and restrictions are published at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/fire-danger-period-restrictions.
Victorians can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” information at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.
As of 1 September, the fire danger rating system changed and is now nationally consistent across every state and territory.
The system reduces the number of danger levels from six in the previous system, to four; Moderate, High, Extreme and Catastrophic.
Victorians can learn more about the new fire danger rating system on the CFA website.
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. You can apply for a permit at firepermits.vic.gov.au.
- Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $21,800 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/