Victoria’s fire and emergency service agencies are urging community members to register their burn-offs as they prepare their properties for fire season.
Launched in 2020, the Fire Permits Victoria website is a one-stop-shop for Victorians to register burn-offs with authorities prior to the fire danger period (FDP) commencing, or apply for a permit once the FDP has started.
While community members can still register their burns with Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511, using the Fire Permits Victoria website frees up ESTA call takers to focus on emergency calls.
Last fire season between 25 October 2021 and 1 May 2022, 85,224 burn-offs were registered or approved, including 18,776 through the Fire Permits Victoria website.
The fire danger period is already in place in Mildura Rural City Council, with several other north-western shires to follow in the coming weeks.
Country Fire Authority Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said that as FDPs are declared in more local council areas, registering burns or applying for permits is vitally important for community safety.
“The Fire Permits Victoria website allows agencies to communicate with those planning burn-offs in a timely and efficient manner, allowing us to provide consistent and up-to-date advice on suspending or revoking a permit if conditions change.”
Forest Fire Management Victoria Acting Chief Fire Officer Allyson Lardner said the fire permit system provided fire agencies with important information to manage fire risk effectively.
“The system allows permit holders to notify fire agencies when approved permits will be used, especially when fire restrictions are in place.
“This allows authorities to cross-check any well-meaning triple zero calls and avoids our firefighters being dispatched unnecessarily.”
Fire Rescue Victoria’s Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner Gavin Freeman said that despite the milder conditions this season, burn-offs can easily escape if not managed and monitored properly.
“Keep your burn-off safe by ensuring you have sufficient water on hand at all times and fully extinguish the burn once completed.
“We know burn-offs can flare-up several days afterwards, which highlights the importance of making sure the fire is fully extinguished and keeping an eye on weather conditions not just for the day of your burn but for the following days as well.”
People undertaking burn-offs prior to the FDP and those with permits during the FDP are reminded follow fire and rescue services’ advice to keep fires safe:
- Follow regulations or laws set by CFA and your local council.
- Register your burn-off via the Fire Permits Victoria website (firepermits.vic.gov.au), or call 1800 668 511.
- Notify neighbours if your activity will generate fire and smoke.
- Check and monitor weather conditions - particularly wind - on the day and coming days.
- Leave a three-metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn.
- Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading; don’t leave it unattended
- Make sure you properly extinguish your fire before you leave it.
- If your burn-off gets out of control, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.