Out of control burn offs prompt warning by CFA
CFA is urging residents across Victoria to take extreme care when burning off after responding to out of control private burn offs.
State duty officer Kade Dowie said volunteers had responded to a spate of unregistered fires taking up hundreds of volunteers’ hours unnecessarily.
“We encourage residents in the areas particularly not yet in Fire Danger Period, to take advantage of the window of opportunity to clean up their properties before the bushfire season, but the effects of an out of control fire can be devastating,” he said.
“In last week’s hot and windy conditions, we saw quite a few burn offs flare up even a couple of days after the burn off, which highlights the importance of making sure your burn off is fully extinguished.
“We’d urge anyone who has burnt off in the past few days to double check that it has been fully extinguished.”
Much of the Northern and North East areas of Victoria already have fire restrictions in place.
“It is vital people do the right thing by checking conditions, complying with local by-laws and registering their burn offs,” Mr Dowie said.
“A two-minute call is all it takes to register the burn.
“It is absolutely essential that you have enough water on hand to put out a fire.
“There isn’t enough time to run back to your house if your fire gets out of control.
“You should construct a fire break, free of flammable, materials around any burn off.”
Burning off undergrowth and other vegetation may generally be permitted outside of the Fire Danger Period, but landowners should always check local laws and register their burn off by calling 1800 668 511.
Property owners have legal obligations when burning off.
Failing to comply with local council by-laws and state legislation can lead to a fine.
Mr Dowie said registering burn offs by calling 1800 668 511 would ensure the burn could be added to the statewide register.
“All calls to Triple Zero (000) about smoke sightings are cross-checked with that register, and firefighters are called out if nothing is listed for that location,” he said.
“False alarm calls to unregistered burn offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and other emergencies.”
If you light a fire without a permit during the Fire Danger Period, you could be charged with breaking the law.
Penalties may include a fine up to $19,342 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.
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; and if your burn off gets out of control, call ‘000’ immediately.
For more information about burning off, go to cfa.vic.gov.au/burnoff.
GONE: A simple burn off at Howqua Inlet recently saw the total destruction of a holiday home and caravan.