The Country Fire Authority wants all landholders to register their planned burn-offs before they strike the match.
CFA brigades are staffed by community volunteers who say they are fed-up with turning out to what they describe as unregistered “good intent” fires, as opposed to genuine emergency situations.
A registered burn-off means that should smoke or flames rising from a property be reported to the 000 emergency telephone number, nearby CFA brigades will not be called to respond as the fire has been logged and is expected.
Foster CFA captain David Jones said “while we encourage people to continue with their pre-fire season clean-ups, we ask everyone to please register their burns with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511.
“Telling the ESTA about planned burns prevents unnecessary fire brigade attendance,” he said.
“We’ve turned out to several false alarms in recent weeks and in each case the fire was a burn-off that hadn’t been registered.
“A simple ‘phone call to the burn-off register can save a lot of embarrassment as well as volunteers’ time and effort,” he said.
“None of us mind being called out for a real emergency, but it’s a bit unfair to be dragging volunteers away from their families or their work commitments to go to an unregistered fire that’s under control, doing a job and is clearly not a danger.”
Mr Jones said that “when you ring the ESTA burn-off register you’ll be talking to a real person, and you’ll be asked to give your name, address and telephone number and information about your planned burn-off.
“The ESTA operator will want to know where and when your planned burn will be, what you are burning and about how long you think it will take, from lighting to being completely out,” he said.
“Burn-offs outside the fire danger period on properties outside town limits do not require a permit, however people who want to light a burn-off inside town limits need to get a permit from the South Gippsland Shire municipal fire prevention officer first.”
Mr Jones also asked that community members making calls to 000 to report a fire “to make sure that the information they’re giving to our emergency services is 100 per cent correct.
“An accurate description of just what the situation is helps the emergency services to respond appropriately,” he said.
“When planning to conduct a registered burn, let your neighbours know beforehand, check the weather conditions, clear a firebreak around the burn site, have enough people to monitor the burn properly and make sure the fire is completely out at the end,” Mr Jones said.
“It’s important that if a registered burn does get out of control to ring 000 and the CFA brigade will be there.”
Register burn-offs with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) on 1800 668 511.