CFA is urging Victorians to take extreme care when burning off after responding to several escaped private burn-offs across areas of the state on Monday, 2 November 2020.
Deputy Chief Officer Gregg Paterson said there are some simple steps Victorians can take to keep their burn-offs safe.
“We encourage residents to clean up their properties before fire danger periods are declared in their area, but the effects of an out-of-control fire can be devastating,” he said.
“With warmer weather forecast across much of Victoria on Tuesday 3 November, it is vital people do the right thing by checking local conditions before burning off, and that they comply with local by-laws and registering their burn-offs. A two-minute call is all it takes to register the burn.
“It is absolutely essential you have enough water on hand to put out a fire. There isn’t enough time to run back to your house if your fire gets out of control. You should construct a fire break, free of flammable, materials around any burn-off.
“We know burn-offs can flare up a couple of days after the burn-off, which highlights the importance of making sure your burn-off is fully extinguished and keeping an eye on weather conditions not just for the day of your burn but for the following days. We’d urge anyone who has burnt off in the past few days to double check that it has been fully extinguished.”
Residents in Mildura Rural City Council, Swan Hill Rural City Council, Gannawarra and the northern part of Yarriambiack Shire Council are reminded the Fire Danger Period is currently in place so a permit is required to burn-off with strict conditions applied.
Burning off undergrowth and other vegetation may generally be permitted outside of the Fire Danger Period, but landowners should always check local laws and register their burn-off by calling 1800 668 511.
Property owners have legal obligations when burning off. Failing to comply with local council by-laws and state legislation can lead to a fine.
DCO Paterson said registering burn-offs by calling 1800 668 511 would ensure the burn could be added to the statewide register.
“All calls to Triple Zero about smoke sightings are cross-checked with that register, and firefighters are called out if nothing is listed for that location,” he said.
If you light a fire without a permit during the Fire Danger Period, you could be charged with breaking the law. Penalties may include a fine up to $19,342 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment.
Keep your burn-off safe and legal:
- •Check fire restrictions with your local council and register your burn on 1800 668 511
- •Check and monitor weather conditions – particularly wind
- •To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand
- •Leave a three metre fire break, free from flammable materials around the burn
- •Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading
- •Never leave a burn-off unattended – stay for its entire duration
- •If your burn-off gets out of control, call ‘000’ immediately