Longer fire season expected
Benalla CFA operations manager Stewart Kreltszheim has highlighted the need to prepare Victorian properties as the state faces an earlier, longer, and in some parts more severe fire season than normal.
The fire-danger period is fast approaching across Victoria, so any burn-offs need to be conducted soon and before the window to do so closes.
‘‘Across the state, we are witnessing low levels of rainfall and a build-up of fuel loads on the ground. These are conditions that could lead to a bad fire season,’’ Mr Kreltszheim said.
‘‘The best way to defend your homes is to prepare before the fire-danger period begins.
‘‘This includes cleaning up your gardens, your gutters and removing flammable waste from your yards.
‘‘Many property owners dispose of this waste with a burn-off, but consider alternative methods, such as mulching, chipping or taking green waste to a transfer station.
‘‘Residents who wish to conduct burn-offs on their private properties need to follow some basic rules.
‘‘Check weather conditions, monitor the wind, and follow local council laws and regulations.
‘‘Before lighting up, register your burn-off.’’
Mr Kreltszheim also highlighted the importance of communication.
‘‘It is important that as well as registering your burn-offs, you notify your neighbours that they may see smoke,’’ he said.
‘‘False alarms take CFA crews away from real emergencies, can increase the risk to the community and can be very frustrating for our crews, many of whom are volunteers.
‘‘By registering your burn-off, any reports of smoke or fire will be cross-checked with the burn-off register to avoid unnecessary response of fire services.’’
Mr Kreltszheim said when registering a burn-off by phone or email, people would be asked for basic information, such as location, date, start and finish times, and what they intend to burn.
‘‘The burn-off line is very easy to use — the operators are friendly, and prompt you by asking the key questions,’’ he said.
‘‘When conducting burnoffs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire.
‘‘Check the weather, winds must be light and temperatures low.
‘‘Make sure you have sufficient water on hand at all times and fully extinguish the burn once completed.
‘‘Escaped burn-offs or those not conducted properly will result in you being liable for the consequences.’’
Keep your burn-off safe and legal:
● Check fire restrictions with your local council and register your burn on 1800 668 511.
● Check and monitor weather conditions — particularly wind.
● To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand
● Leave a three-metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn.
● Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.
● Never leave a burn-off unattended — stay for its entire duration.
● If your burn-off gets out of control, phone ‘‘000’’ immediately.
● For more information about preparing your property, go to cfa.vic.gov.au/prepare Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by phoning 1800 668 511 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org