Fire restrictions are lifted

THE Fire Danger Period for the Wellington Shire officially finished at 1am on Tuesday.

CFA District 10 operations manager Allan Rankin said although the official Fire Danger Period was coming to an end, the threat of fires still remained.

“Grassfires travel faster than you can run; they can threaten properties within minutes,” he said.

Mr Rankin said residents who wanted to conduct private burn-offs on their properties needed to follow some basic rules, and be aware of weather conditions and local council laws.

“We’re urging people to do the right thing by checking conditions and registering their burn-offs,” he said. 

“Every year our brigades get more and more frustrated at the number of false alarm calls they have to respond to as a result of people not doing the right thing.

“Be aware that any calls to Triple Zero about smoke in the air at particular locations are cross-checked with the burn-off register. When nothing is listed, firefighters are required to attend. 

“Calls to unregistered burn-offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and potentially genuine emergencies. If you haven’t registered your burn you can expect some firefighters to arrive  at your property asking you to ‘please explain’.”

Burning off undergrowth and other vegetation is generally permitted outside of the Fire Danger Period, however landowners should register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511 or email burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au.

Mr Rankin said that whether registering a burn-off by phone or email, people should be prepared to  give some basic information including location, date, expected start and finish times, estimated size, and what they intended to burn.

“The burn off line is very easy to use – the operators are friendly, and prompt you by asking the key questions,” he said.  

Keep your burn off safe and legal:

• Check fire restrictions in your area and always register your burn

• Check and monitor weather conditions – particularly wind 

• Warn your neighbours beforehand that there will be smoke in the air.

• Stay in attendance the whole time your burn is going

• Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.