While widespread rainfall has delayed the start of this year’s fire season, CFA has identified increased fire risk in Victoria’s far north-west and declared the state’s first Fire Danger Period (FDP) for the 2022-23 fire season.
The FDP will began on Monday 21 November 2022 for the Mildura Rural City Council area, located in CFA’s District 18.
CFA will be introducing further FDPs for municipalities in the coming months, based on assessments of the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and local conditions.
The return of a La Niña 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 spring released in August identified potential for increased grassfire conditions for the 2022/23 fire season.
Based on the latest outlook, the fire season is expected to be normal in Victoria, except for parts of central and eastern Victoria where the potential is below normal.
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said as a result of the wet spring the FDP is commencing around three weeks later than usual for the Mildura council area.
“Despite the current flooding that is occurring along the Murray River, the wet spring has generated enormous grass growth right across the Mallee which presents a fire risk,” CO Heffernan said.
“Parts of north-west Victoria are experiencing days over 30 degrees and the grass is drying out rapidly in these areas.
“Hay baling and harvesting activities are beginning across the Mallee and now is the time to undertake those last-minute clean-up tasks on your property before the FDP begins.
“More hot weather is approaching and now is the time to prepare your family and property for fire season.”
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 Mildura Rural City Council area should take this opportunity ahead of the FDP to conduct safe private burn-offs to reduce fuel loads and clean up their property.
If you are using fire to clean up your property, you should register 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 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.