CFA warns of early season
CFA District 23 Operations Manager Stewart Kreltszheim has warned that the fire season in Benalla and across the state will start earlier than usual and be more active than normal because of warmer and drier conditions.
Parts of Victoria have already experienced grass and bushfires and October 29 is one of the earliest dates the Fire Danger Period (FDP) has been introduced in District 23 — at least two weeks earlier than usual.
Historically, the FDP has started in midto-late November or December in this area.
‘‘The warmer and drier-than-average weather over recent months, teamed with recent rainfall causing growth in pastures and roadsides means residents need to be prepared for the imminent fire season,’’ Mr Kreltszheim said.
‘‘Out of control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs are a major and avoidable headache for brigades.
‘‘Avoid burning off when 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.’’
CFA takes a zero-tolerance approach to any unauthorised fires or fires resulting from negligent behaviour subject to police investigation.
‘‘Even if you have a permit to use fire over the FDP, make sure you read the conditions carefully,’’ Mr Kreltszheim said.
‘‘Failing to follow just one of those conditions may leave you open to prosecution.’’
During the 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.
All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
For comprehensive FDP information, visit cfa.vic.gov.au Please note that the latest restrictions will be published on this webpage the Tuesday before they come into force.
Victorians can also find out ‘‘Can I or Can’t I?’’ information at cfa.vic.gov.au or by phoning VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.