More than 200 CFA personnel and 40 vehicles converged in Cressy and Lismore last weekend (18-19 November) to conduct a 65km roadside planned burn to prepare for the fire season in the south-west.
CFA, with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), assist in planned burning across Victoria in high-risk areas that require fuel reduction.
CFA District 6 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Andrew Emery said the planned burn took two full days.
"One of the main reasons this burn was conducted was to create a large and long strategic fire break which can help us control fires that start north of the Hamilton Highway and that are pushed predominantly by northerly winds,” Andrew said.
“Grass fires can move extremely fast, even under moderate conditions, so putting in place fire breaks such as the one on the Hamilton Highway gives our firefighters the best chance of stopping fires.
“We identify areas of risk through consultation with local groups and brigades using a combination of fire history, local knowledge and modelling.
“Once these areas are identified, they are prioritised, and we can then begin putting strategic firebreaks in or other treatment options to reduce fuel loads.”
CFA Vegetation Management Support Officer South West David Muir said as well as having fire protection benefits, burn weekends such as these bring valuable training outcomes.
“Planned activities such as these are an opportunity for us to bring lots of our members together, test our systems and train our new members to help them understand fire behaviour and suppression in a more controlled environment,” David said.
“During the burn, our members were able to work on their basic firefighting skills, and our incident controllers and crew leaders were able to refresh and practies their fireground leadership and management skills.
“The burn was divided into two sectors that operated simultaneously, as this is reflective of what may occur at a real fire.
“We also had support services working through logistics - everything from providing lunch, fuel, fluids, and equipment. It really was a successful day out, thanks to our dedicated CFA volunteers and staff members.”
The Fire Danger Period has now commenced across South West Region. Burning off is not permitted without a Permit to Burn, which can be applied for through the Fire Permits Victoria website.
Fire Danger Period information:
- A fire permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation during the FDP. You can apply for a permit at firepermits.vic.gov.au.
- Lighting fires in the open without a permit can bring a penalty of more than $21,800 and/or 12 months imprisonment. For a full list of conditions, visit cfa.vic.gov.au/can.
- Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/farms.
- More information about FDPs is available online at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/firedangerperiod.
- To find out what you can and can’t do during FDP, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.