Further fire restrictions for Victoria's North East

The Fire Danger Period will begin at 01.00am on Monday 28 October 2019 in the following municipalities in District 24 in CFA’s North East Region:

  • Alpine Shire Council
  • Indigo Shire Council
  • Towong Shire Council
  • Wodonga City Council
  • Falls Creek Alpine Resort Management Board
  • Mount Hotham Alpine Resort Management Board

The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Southern Australia released in late August identified potential for above normal bushfire activity across the coastal and foothill forests of East Gippsland, and there’s also a growing risk north of the divide extending into south east New South Wales.

A warm and dry outlook also carries some risk that ash forests in the central highlands and Otways may dry out faster and become more flammable than normal during summer. Across the rest of Victoria, normal bushfire activity is expected, but CFA reminds Victorians that even an average fire season in the state can be a bad one.

CFA District 24 Operations Manager Adrian Gutsche said three years of low winter rainfall across Wodonga and the surrounding areas of North East Victoria meant the bush was very dry.

“The fire potential is further increased by Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” he said.

“Any rainfall we do experience in spring can produce additional grass growth, which could very easily become a high fuel load throughout the summer season if not properly managed.

“The current ‘green’ appearance of the surrounding grasslands could lead the community to believe they have ample time to prepare, but with the below average rainfall this will mean that grassland will change quickly.

“Simply reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.”

Mr Gutsche said that while CFA and its partner agencies Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management, DELWP and Emergency Management Victoria were doing everything possible to prepare for the bushfire season, but also looked to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.

He said there was still a window of opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so.

“Now and over the coming month is the time to be preparing for bushfire season”

“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 call-outs to for 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.”

Mr Gutsche said once the FDP comes into effect, CFA has a zero-tolerance approach to any fires that have started from negligent behaviour.

“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.

CFA does issue permits for a certain situations 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 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/


Author: CFA Media