Re­stric­tions in force

Euroa Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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