FIRE danger periods for the Mornington Peninsula, Frankston and Kingston CFA districts will begin 1am, Monday 19 December.
During this time fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a municipal fire prevention officer.
Fire danger periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
CFA District 8 operations manager Mark Kennedy said forecasts showed potential for an above average fire season, despite recent heavy rain and flooding in many parts of the state.
“The rainfall we experienced in spring has produced a lot of growth which could very easily become a high fuel load throughout the summer season if not properly managed,” he said.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“While CFA does everything it can, we look to members of the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires.”
Mr Kennedy said there was still a “short window of opportunity” for owners to clean up their properties.
“Out of control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have been a major headache for brigades,” he said.
“You should avoid burning off when high winds are forecast – not only on the day you burn but for the days afterwards.”
Councils will be able to provide more specific burn-off restrictions, he said.
CFA acting assistant chief officer Bryan Russell said this fire season CFA would be taking a zero-tolerance approach to any fires resulting from negligent behaviour.
“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by police,” he said.
“Even if you have a permit to use fire over the fire danger period, make sure you read the conditions carefully. Failing to follow just one of those conditions may leave you open to prosecution.”
“Can I or Can’t I?” information is available at cfa.vic.gov.au or by calling 1800 226 226. All burn-offs should be registered on the VicFire Burn-off notification line, 1800 668 511.
A written permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation during the fire danger period. Permits may be issued by the municipal fire prevention officer or the CFA district office.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can incur a penalty of $21,600 and/or 12 months jail. Barbecues and fires for cooking or warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (visit cfa.vic.gov.au)
Using an incinerator, chainsaw, lawn mower, welding or grinding equipment, or driving vehicles coming into contact with vegetation and machinery, are permitted.
Property owners can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au.
A total fire ban means no fires can be lit that day unless with a specific exemption or special permit. This applies irrespective of the fire restriction status for a given municipality.
Further details at cfa.vic.gov.au