Fire danger period begins
Bureau of Meteorology updates forecast and CFA warns of higher risk
THE Fire Danger Period commenced on Monday in the Strathbogie Shire.
During the Fire Danger Period (FDP) fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.
The FDP is decided based on conditions in the local area; including fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
With rainfall either the highest on record or very much above average throughout the North East between May and October, and with recent warmer and drier weather producing ‘close to ideal growing conditions’ for grasslands and bushland undergrowth, Emergency Management Victoria has declared the conditions in most of Victoria ‘above normal’ in terms of their conduciveness to bushfire.
After predicting a cooler, wetter summer for much of the past six months, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has updated its forecast to a warmer, drier period to February 2017heightening the bushfire risk.
Euroa group officer John Furlanetto urged people to be vigilant and proactive in response to the fire threat.
“We need people to be cleaning up around their properties; slashing any long grass, cleaning gutters, removing any bark and fine fuels from around their house, and making themselves a fire plan,” Mr Furlanetto said.
“It comes down to personal responsibility and awareness about what you can do to protect your home and make the CFA’s job as easy as it can be in such a dangerous season.”
For those in the slope country; Creightons Creek, Oak Valley, Longwood East, Gooram and Ruffy, Mr Furlanetto warned there is already an abundance of fuel ready to burn, and residents should be wary of this danger.
“We are expecting for the forested areas, and for those in the hills, that fuels will be dry, and therefore be a cause of real concern, early in the new year,” Mr Furlanetto warned.
“There is a higher risk across the entire Shire of Strathbogie, and so both our crews and the public need to be ready to deal with it.”
CFA District 22 Acting Operations Manager Tony Owen echoed the calls for proactivity when dealing with high fire danger, and implored locals to not rely solely on the CFA.
“There is still opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so, and reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading,” he said.
“While CFA does everything it can, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.
“You should 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 and to download a fire-plan, head to cfa.vic.gov.au/can . All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
• lightning a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $21,600 and/ or 12 months imprisonment. Barbecues and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (to view complete conditions visit cfa.vic.gov.au/can) ;
• the use of an incinerator, chainsaw/lawn mower, welding/grinding equipment and vehicles that come in contact with vegetation and machinery with an internal combustion/heat engine are permitted provided conditions are followed;
farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/farming – this information is important especially for new cfa.vic.gov.farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers;
• a Total Fire Ban declarations means no fires can be lit for the declared district for the day unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued. This applies irrespective municipality. Further details at cfa.vic.gov.au/can .