Fire restrictions in place

THE Country Fire Authority and the Department of Environment and Primary Industries will introduce fire restrictions for all municipalities in Gippsland next week.

The Fire Danger Period and the Fire Prohibited Period will begin at 1am on Monday and will stay in place until May 1, 2015 unless stated otherwise.

CFA assistant chief fire officer Trevor Owen said following the introduction of the restrictions no fires could be lit on private land without a permit.

“To protect community safety, permits are subject to stringent conditions and can be obtained from CFA or your local municipal fire prevention officer,” Mr Owen said.

“Permits for burning off in the fire protected area, which is private property within 1.5 kilometres of public land in the Baw Baw Shire and Latrobe City (north of the Princes Highway only) and in Wellington and East Gippsland shires can be obtained from a DEPI fire management officer at the Erica and Noojee DEPI offices. Otherwise, no fires are permitted to be lit in this area during the Fire Prohibited Period.

“The community needs to be fire ready — especially those living in high risk areas. Fire restrictions are in place for a reason – to help prevent fires from starting.”

DEPI regional fire and land manager Richard Teychenne said fire was a natural part of the local environment and Victoria was one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, with days of extreme fire danger every year.

“Both fire services are well-resourced to respond to the threat of bushfire, with additional fire fighters, new equipment and an expanded aircraft fleet,” he said.

“DEPI and CFA fire season preparations are based on consultation with the wider community and sound planning and risk management processes. However it is vital that residents understand and comply with fire restrictions which help to prevent bushfires.

“We urge residents to make preparation for fire a habit so they are not caught unprepared when bushfires strike.

“Prepare your property, prepare yourself and prepare your family for fire. Have a fire plan in place and most importantly, practise it.

“It’s up to you to check Fire Danger Ratings every day in summer — these help you know when the conditions are dangerous enough to enact your fire plan. Remember that if you can see smoke, you’re leaving it too late. A fire that is miles away could be at your door in minutes.”

To find out more about getting ready for the fire season visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au or phone 1800 240 667.

A map showing fire restriction across Victorian municipalities and a Can I or Can’t I? brochure is available at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions and is also available by phoning the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

This CFA webpage also includes a link to further information about the DEPI prohibited period.