Fire Watch - Total Fire Ban day December 19, 2013

Total Fire Ban: Northern Country, Mallee, Wimmera

Unsure of your fire district - check your location here

UPDATE 6.40PM: Two CFA units are attending a fire at Myola.

The fire is listed as 'small' and it not yet under control.

UPDATE 6.30PM: Five CFA units are attending a fire at Murchison.

The fire is listed as 'small' and 'going' beside the Murchison-Goulburn Weir Road.

This fire has now been removed from incident list.

​UPDATE 5.25PM: Bendigo fire units are attending a reported fire beside the Calder Freeway at Ravenswood South.

The fire is at the intersection of Hokins Road.

Two units are listed as attending.

The fire is now listed 'safe'. 

Units attended a fire in the same location on Wednesday which burned a small area of grass.

See picture gallery of fire here

UPDATE 5PM: The Country Fire Authority has declared a Total Fire Ban in the Northern Country, Mallee and Wimmera fire districts for Friday.

UPDATE 4.30PM: A grass fire has been reported beside the Calder Freeway at Kyneton.

The fire has now been listed as 'safe'.

UPDATE 1.45PM: Bendigo Fire Brigade has had no call-outs for fires since early this morning.

Senior station officer Greg Stead was pleased but reminded Bendigo residents to remain vigilant.

"Don't lock yourself inside with the air conditioning on for the whole day," he said. 

"Go outside every few hours and check your surroundings." 

UPDATE 9.10 AM: Suspicious fire lit in Eaglehawk. CFA calls for people to be aware of today's Total Fire Ban. More here

MAIN STORY: The Country Fire Authority has declared today a day of Total Fire Ban in Northern Country, Mallee and Wimmera.

CFA chief officer Euan Ferguson said north and north-east Victoria was hot and dry.

''We have declared a TFB for three districts and temperatures are expected to be very hot in those areas,” he said.

“The Bureau of Meteorology is also forecasting the likelihood of dry lightning across most of the north of the state which will increase the chances of fires.

“While conditions are worst in those three Districts, this should serve as a warning sign for the rest of the state too - the hot weather is coming and Thursday's spike day is a sign of what is to come.

“Now is the time to talk to your family and friends, make your plans and prepare for summer.”

What does a Total Fire Ban mean?

During a Total Fire Ban, subject to exceptions, no fire can be lit in the open air or be allowed to remain alight in the open air between midnight and 11.59pm.

QUESTION: Can I have a barbecue, light a campfire or light a fire for warmth or comfort?

YES: Barbecues that are fixed appliances. Fired by gas or electricity, being permanently fixed structures built of stone, metal, concrete or another non-flammable material designed exclusively for meal preparation.

Or barbecues that use only gas or electricity, are designed and commercially manufactured exclusively for meal preparation (including portable barbecues), and when alight are placed in a stable position, provided that: A/ the area within a distance of three metres from the outer perimeter of the barbecue is clear of flammable material. B/ you have either a hose connected to a water supply or a vessel with at least 10 litres of water for immediate use. C/ an adult is there at all times when the fire is alight who has the capacity and means to extinguish the fire. D/ The fire is completely extinguished before the adult leaves.

NO: campfires, fires for warmth or personal comfort are banned during Total Fire Ban days. Solid and liquid fuel barbecues and ovens are also banned during Total Fire Ban days.

QUESTION: I run a meal preparation business (eg. catering), or am a community/charitable/fundraising or similar organisation. Can I set up and light a fire to operate a barbecue or a spit at outdoor functions?

YES: But only if you have a written permit issued by CFA or MFB and you comply with the conditions of that permit. 

A community organisation, a charitable organisation or an organisation involved in fundraising (for example, a school or sporting group involved in fundraising) may apply for permission to light a fire to prepare meals for other people in the course of their business. These permits are issued by – and at the discretion of – local CFA District offices, CFA Headquarters or MFB Zone offices. Municipal Fire Prevention Officers cannot issue these permits.

QUESTION: Can I light a fire in the open air for burning off grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation? 

NO: All fires in the open air for burning off grass, scrub, stubble or rubbish are banned during Total Fire Ban Days.

Question: Can I drive a vehicle in places where the vehicle will be in contact with crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

YES: But only if the vehicle is fitted with an efficient silencing device (eg. muffler) that takes all of the exhaust from the engine through the silencing device. This should be avoided wherever possible, due to the extreme fire danger posed by dry vegetation and very hot exhaust systems.

Question: Can I use self-propelled farm machinery, tractors, slashers, earth-moving, excavating or roadmaking machines propelled by a heat engine within nine metres of any crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?

YES: However, if possible postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high.

Source: Country Fire Authority

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