Fire restrictions next week
FIRES cannot be lit outside in South Gippsland Shire from next Monday (January 7).
The Country Fire Authority and Department of Sustainability and Environment have declared a Fire Danger Period from 1am on January 7.
The period means fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a municipal fire prevention officer.
Fire danger periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
Gippsland regional director Mark Potter said CFA looks to the community to do the right thing by their family and neighbours and follow fire restrictions in place throughout the Fire Danger Period.
“Fire restrictions are in place for a very good reason – to prevent fires from starting. Preventing fires is something that every member of the community should see as their responsibility,” he said.
“Victoria has experienced a lot of wet weather this year. But we are one of the most fire-prone regions in the world and it only takes two weeks of hot, dry and windy weather to create dangerous fire conditions.”
Mr Potter said living in a grassland area with dried-out (brown or golden-coloured) grass that is over 10cm high is a significant risk to people, dwellings and infrastructure.
“Grassfires should not be underestimated; they travel faster than you can run and can kill,” he said.
“Fires burning in tall grass can burn very hot with very high flame heights. History tells us that most people under estimate the speed and intensity of grassfires.”
Mr Potter said it is not too late to protect your home and property by slashing, mowing, grazing, and spraying grass, and creating fuel breaks by grading or ploughing fuel breaks down to the bare earth.
“But while preparing your property is a good place to start, it’s just as important to prepare yourself and your family for fire,” he said.
“Now is the time to sit down and have talk to everyone you live with. What will you do if a fire starts?
“What actions will each member of the family undertake? Who will look after the children, or older members of the family? What will your trigger be to leave early? What will you do differently on a day of high fire risk?”
Mr Potter said if you can see smoke, you’re leaving it too late. A fire that is miles away could be at your door in minutes.
To find out more about getting ready for the fire season or book the Home Bushfire Advice Service, visit cfa.vic.gov.au or call 1800 240 667.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of nearly $17,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must: be lit in properly constructed fireplaces, not be used in strong winds, be clear of all flammable material for three metres from the outer perimeter and be supervised at all times by a person who has the means and capacity to extinguish the fire.
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