Burn off warning
Buffalo River man’s fire a reminder for all locals
A LOCAL man has escaped punishment following an out of control burn off on his Buffalo River property last week.
Myrtleford CFA captain Garry Gunson said it was not the first time the man had let a fire get out of control with last Wednesday’s incident the latest.
The man was burning blackberries on a hill on his property just below Buffalo River Road opposite Panorama Drive.
Mr Gunson said the fire caused problems after a change in the wind.
“There was a southerly wind blowing up behind the fire pushing it along,” he said.
“There was probably two acres that was burnt but I’m not sure if all that was from the same day, it did however impact on some olive trees next door.
“I think it actually crossed into the other property and once a fire crosses on to another person’s land that’s when a person is liable.
“It was not registered and the man was by himself with no firefighting equipment and it’s not the first time something like this has happened at this property.”
Mr Gunson said police were called but Leading Senior Constable Anthony Short said no infringements would be issued as the man was present at the time.
Senior Sergeant Paul Pursell said there were three avenues for which police can prosecute people for dangerous or illegal fire activity.
It includes powers under the CFA Act if people light fires outside of the fire danger period and don’t have permits, or on total fire ban days, as well under the Summary Offences Act if anyone lights a fire in the open air and leaves it unattended at anytime.
Police are also authorised to issue notices for non-compliance with local council by-laws around lighting fires.
“Sometimes we get called to a fire and other times it will be reported to us and we’ll investigate and deem whether we need to take it further and have these people either issued a ticket or go to court,” Snr Sgt Pursell said.
Mr Gunson reiterated that people need register their burn offs and be present at all times to prevent the CFA from being called out unnecessarily.
“If you’re going to burn off make sure there is more than one person there, never leave it unattended and make sure you’ve got equipment and water to be able to put it out if it gets out of control,” he said.
“If you don’t have equipment and you don’t look after it you can be prosecuted.”