THE CFA says there is “still a short window of opportunity” for properties across the Mornington Peninsula to be cleaned up before the start of declared fire danger times on Monday 16 December.
If fire is being used to clean up properties it must be registered.
“So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have caused unnecessary call-outs for brigades,” CFA District 8 operations manager Jamie Hansen said.
He said there should be no burning off in strong winds or if they were forecast “not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards”.
Mr Hansen said once the fire danger time comes into effect, the CFA has a “zero-tolerance approach to any fires that have started from negligent behaviour”.
“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.
He said the CFA would only issue permits after 16 December with “very strict conditions attached … the liability sits with the permit holder to ensure they always act safely”.
During the Fire Danger Period fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or the shire’s municipal fire prevention officer.
Mr Hansen said the seasonal bushfire outlook released in late August “identified potential for above normal bushfire activity across the coastal and foothill forests of East Gippsland” and warned that ash forests in the central highlands and Otways could be more flammable than normal during summer.
“Across the rest of Victoria, normal bushfire activity is expected, but CFA reminds Victorians that even an average fire season in the state can be a bad one.”
The CFA says that despite recent rainfall, underlying dryness exists and presents a high fire risk in the area. “The fire potential is further increased by weather bureau forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” Mr Hansen said.
“Any rainfall we do experience in spring will produce growth, which could very easily become a high fuel load throughout the summer season if not properly managed.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.”
For information about burn-off restrictions contact Mornington Peninsula Shire or visit cfa.vic.gov.au/warningsrestrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period. The CFA hotline is 1800 226 226 or to register a burn call 1800 668 511.