THE Fire Danger Period officially finished at 1am on Monday this week (March 19) across the whole Gippsland Region, including the municipalities of South Gippsland, Wellington, East Gippsland, Latrobe and Baw Baw.
Fire Danger Periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moistures, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall. They are a seasonal declaration.
Information about Fire Restrictions is available in CFA’s Can I or Can’t I brochure available on the CFA website, or by phoning the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) 1800 240 667. (This information always available on this website at: www.foster.vic.au/civic-organisations/foster-fire-brigade/)
Although CFA places only limited restrictions on the lighting of fires in the open air outside of the Fire Danger Period, lighting of fires may be fully or partly restricted under legislation and by-laws administered by municipalities and Department of Sustainability and Environment. A person who lights a fire in dangerous weather or fuel conditions or lights a fire that damages another person’s property whether intentionally or not is guilty of a serious crime.
Although the fire danger period is ending, it is important the community take extreme care when burning off. If a fire is left unattended in windy conditions it can spread quickly and can burn into bushland or onto neighbours’ properties.
Always remember to:
- Check local by-laws before burning off;
- Never leave a burn-off unattended;
- Tell your neighbours and call the VicFire Burn-Off Line on 1800 668 511 so that brigades don’t get called out unnecessarily and;
- Check the weather forecast before you burn off – never burn off in dry, hot, windy conditions.
This message was reiterated by the captain of the Foster Fire Brigade, David Jones, who said he wished to remind people that they still had responsibility regarding burn-offs. “The CFA strongly advises that before a burn you dial the burn-off line on 1800 668 511 and register the burn. This will stop unnecessary turn-out of local brigades by people becoming alarmed when they see smoke. By all means call 000 if a fire gets away,” said Mr Jones.
He said that Foster CFA had turned out to two fires on the Labour Day weekend, just before the fire restrictions came to an end. One was in Davis Road, Foster, and the other at Fish Creek.
Some larger sized fires over the past few weeks, particularly the recent grassfire near Ararat, highlight the importance of being fire ready and always remaining vigilant.
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said this week that although there had been wet conditions and flooding in Victoria, the recent grassfires demonstrated how quickly fires could take hold.
“Grassfires travel faster than you can run. They can threaten properties and even kill,” he said.
“People should have a fire plan and prepare for the event of fire – never be complacent.”
To download a Fire Ready Kit, complete the Household Bushfire Self Assessment or find the location of Fire Ready meetings in your area visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.