Preparing properties a priority

Preparing properties a priority

CFA chief officer, Steve Warrington, has highlighted the need to prepare properties as the state moves towards a fire season that in some areas will be more severe than normal.

CFA has this week announced the first municipality to enter the Fire Danger Period this season will be East Gippsland Shire, fire restrictions starting at 1am on Monday, September 23.

Other parts of Victoria will follow in the coming weeks and months. Once the fire danger period starts, the window to conduct burn-offs without a permit is closed.

The announcement of the start of the Fire Danger Period in Victoria’s far east comes as parts of Queensland and New South Wales are battling large bushfires in unprecedented conditions for those states at this time of year.

The recent Australian seasonal bushfire outlook identified potential for above normal bushfire activity across the coastal and foothill forests of East Gippsland, and there’s also a growing risk north of the divide extending into south-east New South Wales.

“It’s now the third year in a row that these areas have experienced less than average rainfall, which means the soil and forest fuels are very dry, there is a lot of dead fuel around and more flammable live vegetation,” Mr Warrington said.

“The best way to defend your homes is to prepare before the fire danger period begins in your area.

“This includes cleaning up gardens, gutters and removing flammable waste from your yards.

“Many property owners dispose of this waste with a burn-off, but we also recommend people consider alternative methods such as mulching, chipping or taking green waste to a transfer station.

“Residents who wish to conduct burn-offs on their private properties need to follow some basic rules such as checking weather conditions, monitoring the wind, following local council laws and regulations, and registering their burn-off.

“False alarms take CFA crews away from real emergencies and can be very frustrating for our crews, many of whom are volunteers. By registering your burn-off, any reports of smoke or fire will be cross- checked with the burn-off register to avoid unnecessary response of fire services. It’s also a good idea to notify your neighbours that they may see smoke.

“When conducting burn-offs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire.

“Check the weather, winds must be light and temperatures low. Make sure you have sufficient water on hand at all times and fully extinguish the burn once completed. Escaped burnoffs or those not conducted properly will result in you being liable for the consequences.”