Restrictions in force
DISTRICT 22 has begun their Fire Danger Period early this year, with Strathbogie Shire’s already in effect, starting at 1am Monday October 22.
This is the earliest date the Fire Danger Period (FDP) has been introduced in the three municipalities that make up District 22 since at least 1995, and at least three weeks earlier than usual.
A Total Fire Ban declaration means no fires can be lit for the declared district for that day unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued.
CFA District 22 operations manager Tony Owen said the seasonal bushfire outlook for Southern Australia released in early September 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.”
The CFA along with its partners agencies Park Victoria, Forest Fire Management, DELWP and Emergency Management Victoria will aim to prepare as best they can for the fire season, but are looking to the community to use common sense when it comes to fire prevention.
Mr Owen said there was still a short window of opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so.
“So far this year, out-ofcontrol burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary call-outs for brigades,” 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.”
With the Fire Danger Period fully in effect as of Monday the CFA have said they have a zero-tolerance approach to any fires that have started from negligent behaviour.
CFA does issue permits for a certain situations during the Fire Danger Period, although these are mainly for critical industry and other purposes.
Permits are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
During the FDP fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a municipal fire prevention officer.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $19,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.
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 burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.