Fire danger pe­riod starts early

CFA blames low win­ter rain­fall and an ex­pected dry start to sum­mer

Campaspe News - - NEWS - By KIM­BER­LEY PRICE

YES­TER­DAY morn­ing marked the be­gin­ning of the fire danger pe­riod (FDP) in the Cam­paspe Shire and Lod­don Shire coun­cils.

Chris Ja­cob­sen, the CFA Dis­trict 02 op­er­a­tions man­ager, said the Sea­sonal Bush­fire Out­look for South­ern Aus­tralia re­port sug­gested the fire sea­son in Vic­to­ria will start ear­lier than usual and be more ac­tive than nor­mal due to warmer and drier con­di­tions.

Oc­to­ber 22 is one of the ear­li­est dates the FDP has been in­tro­duced in Greater Bendigo, Cam­paspe and Lod­don, and at least two weeks ear­lier than usual. His­tor­i­cally, the FDP has usu­ally started in Novem­ber.

“Low win­ter rain­fall across the North West 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,” Ja­cob­sen said.

“At the mo­ment, the Bendigo re­gion sits at just over half of its ex­pected rain­fall for the year to date.

“If you’ve had a burn-off re­cently, please recheck these ar­eas as it has been ex­tremely dry and the cur­rent deficit in rain­fall means that the ground mois­ture may not have been

The Bendigo re­gion sits at just over half of rain­fall.’ its ex­pected

suf­fi­cient to en­sure ex­tin­guish­ment of burns even over re­cent weeks or months.”

In the lead-up to the FDP, re­duc­ing fuel loads en­sures that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of tak­ing hold or spread­ing.

“While CFA and its part­ner agen- cies 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,” Ja­cob­sen said.

Now the FDP has come into ef­fect, CFA has a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to any fires that have started from neg­li­gent be­hav­iour and peo­ple can ex­pect that any fires started dur­ing FDP will be in­ves­ti­gated by CFA and Vic­to­ria Po­lice.

CFA do is­sue per­mits for a range of sit­u­a­tions dur­ing the FDP which are mainly for crit­i­cal in­dus­try and other pur­poses. There are very strict con­di­tions at­tached to these per­mits and the li­a­bil­ity sits with the per­mit holder to en­sure they al­ways act safely.

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

Vic­to­ri­ans can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” in­for­ma­tion at cfa.vic.gov.au/warn­ings-re­stric­tions/ can or by call­ing VicEmer­gency Hot­line on 1800 226 226. All burnoffs should be reg­is­tered with the VicFire Burn-off no­ti­fi­ca­tion line on 1800 668 511.

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