The Fire Danger Period (FDP) began at 01.00am on Monday 15 October 2018 for the following municipalities in CFA’s North West and West regions:
- Swan Hill Rural City Council (District 18)
- Mildura Rural City Council (District 18)
- Buloke Shire Council (District 18)
- Yarriambiack Shire Council (Northern and Central), north of Dimboola-Minyip Rd, Stawell-Warracknabeal Rd, C Loats Rd, and Donald-Murtoa Rd. (District 18)
- Gannawarra Shire Council (District 20)
- Hindmarsh Shire Council (Northern), north of Sanders Rd, Netting Fence track, Netting Fence Rd, Pullet Wt Rd, Pullet E Rd and Galaquil W Rd. (District 17)
CFA District 18 Operations Manager John Breaks 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.
15 October is the earliest date the Fire Danger Period has been introduced in the six municipalities since at least 1995, and at least two or three weeks earlier than usual.
“Low winter rainfall across the North West means the grass and bush are dry and the fire potential is further increased by Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” Operations Manager Breaks said.
Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“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 do the same, partner with us and take responsibility for reducing fuel loads around their properties such as dry grass, leaf litter, scrubs and other flammable material. This is the best way to help protect themselves and their properties.”
CFA District 20 Operations Manager Peter Taylor said with the FDP now in effect, CFA has a zero-tolerance approach to any fires that have started from negligent behaviour.
“Expect any fires started during FDP to be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.
CFA do issue permits for a range of situations during the FDP. These are mainly for critical industry and other purposes. 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 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/
For more information contact CFA Media on: 1300 CFA MEDIA (24 hours) or firstname.lastname@example.org