Yarrawonga Chronicle

Victorians urged to prepare properties

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With parts of Victoria already having experience­d days of higher fire risk, now is the time to start preparing your property, CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan has warned.

While the most recent seasonal outlook for spring, released in late August by the Australasi­an Fire and Emergency Service Authoritie­s Council (AFAC), shows parts of Victoria are forecast to have a wet spring, warm and windy days will bring an increased fire risk.

The outlook has predicted strong grass growth and the potential of increased grassfire conditions once the vegetation dries out.

However, Chief Officer Heffernan warned property owners in some forested areas still had a lot of debris to clear following winter storms.

“Whether you live in the North West, where we can soon expect to start seeing fastmoving grassfires, or in the damper forested areas of East Gippsland, now is the time to start preparing yourself and your property for the fire season,” he said.

“Victoria is one of the world’s most bushfire-prone areas, and even a normal fire season presents a high risk to communitie­s.”

Chief Officer Heffernan said Victorians who planned to ‘leave early’ – that is the night before or morning of a high-fire risk day – should also prepare their property.

“Preparing your property means you minimise the chance of property damage during a fire, even if you plan to leave early. Houses have been lost from things as simple as embers landing on a doormat left out,” he said.

“A big clean-up before the fire season can make a huge difference to the safety and survival of your home in a bushfire.

“If burning off as part of preparing your property, make sure you check for local restrictio­ns, monitor weather conditions – particular­ly wind – and always register your burn-offs.”

Once a Fire Danger Period has been declared in your local government area, you need to apply for a permit at firepermit­s.vic. gov.au. Visit cfa.vic.gov.au for more informatio­n about bushfire planning and preparatio­n, and about leaving early.

Visit coronaviru­s.vic.gov.au for up-to-date advice about a travel permit scheme for Victorians in Restricted Areas who need to leave their principal residence for bushfire property preparatio­ns at secondary properties in other areas.

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