Mitchell Shire fire danger period to take effect Monday

A FIRE danger period will begin at 1am on Monday, December 13 In the Country Fire Authority, CFA, north-east region, which includes Mitchell Shire.

CFA fire danger periods restrict the use of fire in Victorian communities.

The CFA’s seasonal bushfire outlook for Victoria, released on November 25, identified potential for increased grassfire conditions during the 2021-22 fire season.

Much of Victoria has experienced average or above-average rainfall during winter and spring, leading to increased pasture growth across paddocks and roadsides for much of the state, heightening grass fire risk during summer.

CFA district 12 assistant chief fire officer Rob van Dorsser said grassland and drier forests including woodlands and heathlands had been assessed as normal, but that shorter-duration fires were still likely to occur on hot, dry and windy days.

Mr van Dorsser said even an average fire season could still be a bad one.

“Conditions through the last fire season were similar to what we’re expecting this year, and during those months we saw significant grass fires in the north and west of the state,” he said.

“Once again we’ve had plenty of winter and spring rainfall and have seen significant growth in the grasslands. Now as the grass and bush rapidly dry out in the north-east of the state, the warmer weather, increased yield and potential fuel will mean the fire potential is heightened.

“Reducing fuel loads in these areas will ensure if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.

“While CFA and our partner agency in district 12, Forest Fire Management Victoria, are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.”

If people plan to use fire to clean up around their properties, they should register at www.firepermits.vic.gov.au, or by calling ESTA on 1800 668 511.

Mr van Dorsser said there was still an opportunity to clean up properties if people had not already done so.

“Out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary callouts to brigades,” he said.

“You should also check and monitor weather conditions and not burn off in windy conditions or if high winds are forecast – not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.

“More information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area can be found by consulting your local council.”

Mr van Dorsser said once the fire danger period came into effect, the CFA had a zero-tolerance approach to any fires caused by negligent behaviour.

“Expect any escaped or uncontrolled fire you start to be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.

Once a fire danger period is in effect fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from the CFA or a municipal fire prevention officer.

More information about fire danger periods can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/fire-danger-period-restrictions.

People can also call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.