CFA brigades have responded to more than 60 callouts related to residents burning off without a permit over the past few weeks.
Pakenham Upper CFA Captain Mick Bedford said the community needs to be aware that restriction of burning applies during the Fire Danger Period to protect the community at the most dangerous time of the year.
“Residents who continue to burn-off without permits could face fines of up to $6,000 and/or imprisonment,” Mr Bedford said.
“Worse, their actions could start a serious grass or bushfire which have the potential to threaten homes or even lives.”
Fire Danger Periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moistures, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
Cockatoo Captain Julian Ketskemety said that while the area may have experienced wet weather recently, the fire threat is the greatest in a decade.
“It only takes two weeks of hot, dry and windy weather to create dangerous fire conditions.
“Due to favourable growing conditions across the state in 2011, there is an above-average grassfire risk this fire season.
“Grassfires should not be underestimated – they travel faster than you can run, can destroy property and even kill.” Mr Ketskernety said.
Grassfires often occur in metropolitan areas over the summer period impacting on residential, commercial and industrial properties. Simply discarding a cigarette butt into dry grass can put the community at risk and result in millions of dollars of damage.
If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to protect your home and property by slashing, mowing, grazing, spraying and using herbicide, and creating fuel breaks by removing all fuel (vegetation) down to the soil. Living in a grassland area with dried-out brown or golden-coloured grass that is over 10cm high is a bushfire risk
Fire Danger Period restrictions: the details
Fires in the open air are legally restricted when a FDP is declared in Cardinia by CFA. A written permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation. This permit is issued by the Cardinia Municipal Fire Prevention Officer or the CFA District Office.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of more than $6,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
- Barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must: be lit in properly constructed fireplaces (i.e. metal, stone or concrete), not be used in strong winds, be 3m from other flammable material and be supervised at all times.
- The use of: an incinerator, chainsaw/lawn mower, welding/grinding equipment, vehicles that come in contact with vegetation and machinery with an internal combustion/heat engine are permitted provided guidelines are followed (details in Can I or Can’t I).
- CFA's On the Land: Agricultural Fire Management Guidelines provides practical fire management advice for people living and working on rural properties and is particularly useful to those new to farming. To view and/or download the guidelines, go to the CFA website.