Fire danger period starts early
CFA blames low winter rainfall and an expected dry start to summer
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.