East Gippsland residents urged to be fire ready as restrictions come into force
13 December 2010
CFA and the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) will be introducing fire restrictions for the Shire of East Gippsland from 1.00am on Monday 20 December 2010.
The introduction of these annual fire restrictions means that residents in the Shire of East Gippsland can no longer burn-off without a permit.
CFA District 11 Operations Manager Bryan Russell said despite the recent rain, grass was already starting to dry out on ridgelines and it would only take a few days of hot weather before East Gippsland was at risk of fires.
“The heavy spring rains have promoted growth and fuel loads in grassland areas that are greater than they have been in years,” he said. “The danger of hot, fast-running grass fires is real.”
Mr Russell said farmers could apply for permits from the council to burn for agricultural purposes during the Fire Danger Period and permits for other reasons may be approved by CFA under exceptional circumstances.
“For any burns close to public land, permits must be obtained from the Fire Management Officer at your local DSE office.”
“Everyone who needs to conduct a burn-off needs to ensure they apply for a permit,” he said. “It is an offence to light a fire when restrictions are in force and Victoria Police will be taking a zero tolerance approach to those who break the law this summer.
“Anyone planning a burn-off, no matter how small, should register it with the VicFire Burn-off Notification line on 1800 668 511. This will ensure that brigades are not wasting time investigating smoke sightings from burn-offs.”
Mr Russell said the delayed start to the fire season this year meant residents should use the first days of summer to complete their bushfire preparations, including cleaning up around their home and ensuring they have a Bushfire Survival Plan.
“All the rain and cooler conditions have given residents extra time to complete their preparations and ensure they are ready. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to clean the gutters; clear leaf litter and other fine fuels from around homes; remove flammable items such as paper, boxes and crates; and to move fuel supplies such as fire wood and chemicals away from the home.”
Further details can be found in CFA’s Can I or Can’t I brochure (PDF) or by phoning the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) 1800 240 667.
Fire Restrictions, the details:
- During the Fire Danger Period, a permit is required to burn-off grass, undergrowth or weeds. This permit is issued by the Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.
- Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth, however, do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces, within limits of wind speed and clearance parameters, and are to be supervised at all times.
- All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off Notification Line on 1800 668 511.
- Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of up to $5,500 or 12 months’ imprisonment.
- The Can I or Can’t I? brochure, also available from the CFA website, details the fire restrictions regime, including the differences between fire restrictions and Total Fire Ban days.
- CFA’s On the Land: Agricultural Fire Management Guidelines provides practical fire management advice for people living and working on rural properties and is particularly useful to those new to farming.
For information on fires in Victoria and general fire safety, please contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line (VBIL) on freecall 1800 240 667.
Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech / communication impairment may call textphone/ telewriter (TTY) on 1800 122 969.