Fire Danger Period commenced in Cardinia Shire
The 2017–18 Fire Danger Period for Cardinia Shire commenced at 1am today (Monday 18 December 2017), as declared last week by the Country Fire Association (CFA) Victoria.
Fire Danger Periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
CFA Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Trevor Owen said recent wet weather has led to an increase in vegetation growth and early indicators were pointing to a long and challenging fire season ahead.
“It’s still not too late to clean up your property if you haven’t already done so, but the window for burning off has closed,” ACO Owen said.
During the Fire Danger Period, fires and most activities with the potential to generate sparks cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA.
Additionally, a Total Fire Ban declaration means they cannot light any fires within the declared district for that day, unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued. This applies irrespective of the Fire Restriction status for a given municipality.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $17,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. However, barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces.
ACO Owen emphasised that CFA will be taking a zero tolerance approach to any fires resulting from people flouting the laws.
“Expect that any fire you start to be fully investigated by police. While CFA does everything it can, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires,” ACO Owen said.
Cardinia Shire Council General Manager Community Wellbeing Jenny Scicluna encouraged residents to be informed and adhere to the restrictions that are in place during the Fire Danger Period.
“The restrictions and guidelines in place during the Fire Danger Period each year help to reduce the risk of bush and grass fires. It is everyone’s responsibility to undertake effective fire prevention works on their properties,” said Ms Scicluna.
Council’s Fire Hazard Inspection Program has commenced and to date around 300 properties have been issued with a fire prevention notice directing them to clear their properties for the summer season. Failure to comply with these notices can attract a large fine.
“Properties are inspected if they have been identified through a report, if a complaint has been received, or if where they have received a notice in previous years,” explained Ms Scicluna.
To find out more about what is and isn’t permitted during the Fire Danger Period, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/can or by calling 1800 226 226. Farmers, particularly new farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers, can access information about legal guidelines and practical advice at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/farming.