A Total Fire Ban (TFB) has been declared for the Mallee and Wimmera tomorrow, Sunday 19 December 2021.
Tomorrow’s conditions in the Mallee and Wimmera will be cooler than Saturday, however a strong front is expected to cross Victoria bringing damaging westerly winds and a risk of dry lightning, elevating fire danger.
A Fire Danger Rating of Severe is forecast for the Mallee and Wimmera tomorrow, with the Bureau of Meteorology also issuing a fire weather warning in those districts. A Very High Fire Danger Rating is forecast for Northern Country, and Low-Moderate for the remainder of the state.
CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook has advised dry grasslands and low fuel moisture, together with the possibility of lightning and strong winds are the key concerns in the Mallee and Wimmera tomorrow.
“Total Fire Bans are in place for the Mallee and Wimmera tomorrow, with dry and windy conditions expected, as well as dry lightning. Similar conditions are anticipated across other parts of Northern and Western Victoria as well, and residents and visitors to those areas should also remain alert” he said.
Strict rules apply to the operation of farm machinery, chainsaws and lawn mowers, and residents in Mallee and Wimmera in particular are encouraged to take extreme care tomorrow. Farmers undertaking harvesting are encouraged to follow a Voluntary Grain Harvesting Guide developed by CFA and Victorian Farmers Federation that recommends ceasing harvesting at suggested triggers.
He also warned that those already enjoying a Christmas break, particularly those camping, should remain cautious and ensure that campfires are extinguished before midnight tonight. On-the-spot fines will be issued to people who do not comply with campfire rules.
“I would also like to remind all Victorians now that summer is here, people should consider their safety, and the safety of others when camping. If you have a campfire lit tonight it is critical that you extinguish your campfire using water, not soil, as fires can still smoulder under soil for several days and reignite under windy conditions.
“All campfires are banned during Total Fire Ban days. Solid and liquid fuel barbecues and ovens (including Hangis) are also banned burning Total Fire Ban days. People should monitor conditions, be aware of their surroundings and adhere to Total Fire Ban restrictions.”
“I ask residents and visitors to the Mallee and Wimmera to revisit their bushfire survival plans and make sure they’re ready to act. This includes people travelling, camping or staying in these areas in the lead up to the Christmas holiday period.”
While this year’s fire season outlook indicates a lower risk of prolonged bushfires, grass and crop fires remain a high risk across the state after average-above average rainfall and strong fuel growth.
“Overall, we’ve had milder conditions leading into this fire season, but we can’t afford to be complacent about these hot and windy days where the fire danger spikes.
“Grass and crop fires are prevalent this season and can move at speeds of up to 25km per hour and jump highways,” Acting Chief Officer Cook said.
No fires can be lit or be allowed to remain alight in the open air from 12:01 AM on Sun, 19 Dec 2021 until 11:59 PM Sun, 19 Dec 2021.
Victorians should also make sure they have access to more than one source of information in the event of an emergency, including:
- ABC local radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News
- The VicEmergency App, website www.emergency.vic.gov.au and Hotline 1800 226 226
Victorians can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” information at cfa.vic.gov.au/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226. All burn-offs should be registered online at firepermits.vic.gov.au or with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.