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Zero tolerance towards negligent behaviour and fire: CFA

 Current News
 Wednesday 4th December 2019
 File Photo

Zero tolerance towards negligent behaviour and fire: CFA
Despite the cooler conditions over the last few days, the fact that the remaining parts of CFA District 17 will soon come under Fire Restrictions is a timely reminder of the long, hot summer ahead.

Horsham, West Wimmera Fire Restrictions
The Fire Danger Period will begin at 1am next Monday, 9th December 2019, for the remainder of West Wimmera Shire and Horsham Rural City, bringing the whole of the four municipalities in District 17 (Hindmarsh, Horsham, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack) into the fire danger period.

Warm outlook
While the outlook for our part of the state is for an average fire season, the CFA reminds Victorians that even an average fire season in the state can be a bad one.

CFA District 17 Acting Operations Manager Alfred Mason said with good rainfall over winter and leading into spring there is an abundant growth in crops, roadside fuels and general grasslands.

“As fuel loads quickly dry out with the warmer weather and strong winds, the risk of fire is increasing. It is incumbent on all members of our communities to ensure we undertake preparation to limit the risk of fires starting, limit the chance of fires taking hold and limit the spread of fires.

“Whilst we know crops and grasses are drying out, bushland is already dry and susceptible to fires, which is a concern,” Mr Mason said.

“While CFA and its partner agencies Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management, and Emergency Management Victoria are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.”

Cleaning up your property
Mr Mason said there was still a short window of opportunity to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so.

“People need to be aware that if using fire to clean up around their properties they need to register these on 1800 668 511. So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary call-outs to for brigades,” Mr Mason 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.

“For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council.”

Once the FDP comes into effect, CFA has a zero-tolerance approach to any fires that have started from negligent behaviour.

“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.

CFA does issue permits for certain situations during the FDP. There are very strict conditions attached to these permits and the liability sits with the permit holder to ensure they always act safely.

During the Fire Danger Period (FDP) fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer. FDPs are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.

Fire Danger Period information and restrictions are published at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period.

Victorians can find out “Can I or Can’t I?” information at http://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.

Fire Danger Period information:
  • A written permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation during the FDP. This permit may be issued by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer or the CFA District Office. Please check with your municipality in the first instance.
  • 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. Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (to view complete conditions visit cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can
  • The use of an incinerator, chainsaw/lawn mower, welding/grinding equipment and vehicles that come in contact with vegetation and machinery with an internal combustion/heat engine are permitted provided conditions are followed.
  • Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/farms – this information is important especially for new farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers.
  • 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. This applies irrespective of the Fire Restriction status for a given municipality. Further details at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can

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