Fire dan­ger pe­riod in force

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -­ingsre­stric­tions/can/

The fire dan­ger pe­riod for Moira Shire is now in force.

Fire re­stric­tions now ap­ply and res­i­dents can­not light a fire in the open air with­out a per­mit and burnoffs must com­ply with cer­tain re­quire­ments.

Dur­ing fire ac­tion week, Co­bram Fire Bri­gade cap­tain Adrian Hilder told the Courier the fire sea­son would start ear­lier and be more in­tense.

The bri­gade was urg­ing res­i­dents to pre­pare homes and make sure they were fol­low­ing lo­cal laws ahead of sum­mer.

‘‘This sum­mer is look­ing sim­i­lar to 2009, we haven’t had any de­cent rain dur­ing win­ter mean­ing it’s dry­ing out quickly,’’ Mr Hilder said.

Co­bram Fire Bri­gade has started pre­sea­son train­ing, in­clud­ing track work, burn over drills and haz­ardous tree as­sess­ments.

Mr Hilder said the bri­gade was also look­ing at ru­ral prop­er­ties on the out­skirts of town to as­sess growth and for­est close to the town.

When the fire dan­ger pe­riod was de­clared Mon­day, it was the ear­li­est start to a fire dan­ger pe­riod in the three mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties which make up district 22 since 1995 and at least three weeks ear­lier than usual.

The CFA said parts of Vic­to­ria had al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced grass and bush­fires and when the fire dan­ger pe­riod was in­tro­duced in parts of Gipp­s­land on Septem­ber 10, it was the ear­li­est date on record.

CFA district 22 op­er­a­tions man­ager Tony Owen said the sea­sonal bush­fire out­look for south­ern Aus­tralia re­leased last month sug­gested the fire sea­son in Vic­to­ria to start ear­lier than usual and be more ac­tive than nor­mal due to warmer and drier con­di­tions.

‘‘Low win­ter rain­fall across the north east means the grass and bush are dry and the fire po­ten­tial is fur­ther in­creased by Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy fore­casts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than av­er­age,’’ Mr Owen said.

‘‘Any rain­fall we do ex­pe­ri­ence in spring will pro­duce growth, which could very eas­ily be­come a high fuel load through­out the sum­mer sea­son if not prop­erly man­aged.

‘‘Re­duc­ing fuel loads will en­sure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of tak­ing hold or spread­ing.

‘‘While CFA and its part­ner agen­cies Parks Vic­to­ria, For­est Fire Man­age­ment, DELWP and Emer­gency Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to pre­pare for the bush­fire sea­son, we look to the com­mu­nity to use com­mon sense and take re­spon­si­bil­ity for pre­vent­ing fires.’’

Mr Owen said res­i­dents should be wary about burnoffs and should reg­is­ter ev­ery burn by call­ing 1800 668 511.

‘‘So far this year, out-of­con­trol burn-offs and un­reg­is­tered burn-offs have al­ready caused un­nec­es­sary call-outs for brigades. Some of these have re­sulted in pros­e­cu­tions,’’ he said.

‘‘You should not burn off when winds are high or high winds are fore­cast — not only on the day of your burn but for the days af­ter­wards.’’

Mr Owen said the CFA had a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to any fires which started from neg­li­gent be­hav­iour.

‘‘Ex­pect any fire you start to be fully in­ves­ti­gated by CFA and Vic­to­ria Po­lice,’’ he said.

Dur­ing the fire dan­ger pe­riod fires can­not be lit in the open air with­out a writ­ten per­mit from CFA or a mu­nic­i­pal fire pre­ven­tion of­fi­cer.

Per­mits are based on lo­cal con­di­tions and take into ac­count fuel mois­ture, fuel loads, grass­land cur­ing, weather and rain­fall.

For in­for­ma­tion, visit

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