As the state’s South West prepares for strong winds this weekend, CFA has urged residents to take extreme care when burning off or defer until conditions are more suitable.
Forecast winds could reach around 50km/h with gusts up to 80km/h in some parts of Victoria’s South West on Saturday and Sunday, resulting in elevated fire danger and the risk of fires escaping.
CFA Regional Agency Commander (RAC), South West Region, Peter Creak said residents should reconsider any burn-offs they were planning to do and check back on any burn-offs from recent days to make sure they were adequately extinguished.
“We’re encouraging property owners to take care and check their local conditions are suitable before conducting burn-offs,” he said.
“Even if you have registered your burn, conditions can change quickly, and fires can get out of control within minutes in windy conditions.
“If you have been burning off prior to the weekend, ensure the fire is completely out as strong winds can cause the fire to flare up again.
“The effects of an out-of-control fire can be devastating.”
The fire danger rating is forecast as High in South West and Central for Saturday, before dropping to Moderate on Sunday.
However, RAC Creak said the gusty winds will persist throughout the weekend and will still present a dangerous fire risk.
Fire restrictions will commence for many parts across the South West of Victoria over the next fortnight.
RAC Creak encouraged residents to clean up their properties ahead of restrictions but reminded them to hold off with burn-offs if weather conditions are unsuitable.
“It’s important for people to always register their burn-offs so we know what is happening in the area, especially if brigades are being called to fires,” he said.
“It reduces the chances of CFA brigades being called out unnecessarily if a member of the public calls about smoke or a fire in the area.”
He added that people should never leave a burn-off unattended as it is the resident’s responsibility to ensure that it does not get out of control.
“If a burn-off does get out of control, call ‘000’ immediately. People should have a fire plan and prepare for the event of fire, and never be complacent.”
CFA also reminded landowners to ensure machinery such as headers are routinely maintained, in preparation for any farming operations this weekend and haystacks are prepared and stored safely.
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