Alpine Observer

Grass fire prompts burn-off reminder

- By LAURIE SULLIVAN lsullivan@nemedia.com.au

AN early morning grass fire off the rail trail outside Ovens last Friday has prompted Myrtleford Country Fire Authority captain Gloria Pizzolitto to remind landowners of the need to get permission to conduct burnoffs - even in winter.

“It only involved grass and was easily put out in around 30 minutes,” Ms Pizzolitto said.

“However, we weren’t sure what was involved and three members from Myrtleford and two from Ovens attended.

“We could have done the job with one truck instead of using resources that might have been needed somewhere else.

“Landowners need to remember that they must register to burn off at any time of year and that they need to stay with the fire to monitor it and being able to extinguish it themselves.”

The CFA members responded at 4.50am and it was unclear whether the fire was deliberate­ly lit or had reignited from a burn-off earlier in the week, Ms Pizzolitto said.

According to the CFA website, burning off grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowt­h or other vegetation is generally permitted outside the fire danger period.

It is possible to register a burn-off online on the Fire Permits Victoria website if the burn-off will begin more than two hours ahead of the registrati­on, by calling the Emergency Services Telecommun­ications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511, or by emailing completing a Burn off Notificati­on Form available on the website to burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au.

You will be asked to provide details of the burn-off, such as its location, the date and expected start and finish times, its estimated size, and the materials to be burnt.

However, local laws covering burn-offs may apply yearround and both rural and urban residents should first check with their local council regarding the relevant regulation­s.

Alpine Shire Council’s Community Local Law states that in residentia­l areas fires cannot be lit in the open air or an incinerato­r outside the hours of 10am to 3pm or during a total fire ban.

Only dry tree limbs and prunings can be burnt and not fallen leaves, lawn clippings or the hulls, burrs or casings from nut trees.

The council’s regulation­s also govern the size of the fire, proximity to other properties and the materials that can be burnt.

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