Fire Watch - Total Fire Ban day December 28, 2013

Total Fire Ban: Mallee, Northern Central, North Central, Central

Unsure of your fire district - check your location here

UPDATE: 6.40PM: THE CFA has issued a watch and act warning to Emu Creek, Harcourt North, Sedgwick, Axe Creek.

The CFA warnings and advice website notes there is a small fast-moving grass fire travelling in a north-easterly direction from North Harcourt Road in Sedgwick. 

This grass fire is currently not yet under control. 

UPDATE: 6.35PM: SIX fire trucks have been called to an incident in North Harcourt Road in Sedgwick.

A CFA spokesperson said it still wasn't clear whether it was a fire. 

The incident was reported about 6.17pm. 

The fire in Hicks Street in Eaglehawk has been brought under control. 

UPDATE: 6PM: FIRE crews are attending a small fire in Hicks Street in Eaglehawk. 

UPDATE: 5.19PM: THE fire in Maldon has been extinguished. 

UPDATE: 4.50PM: FIRE crews are attending to a small blaze in Spring Street Maldon. 

UPDATE: 4PM: CFA have controlled a fire in Simson on Maryborough-Dunolly Road. 

UPDATE: 3.46PM: FIRES in Strathallan and Ladys Pass have been contained. 

UPDATE: 3.40PM: THE Country Fire Authority has been called to a small fire along Maryborough-Dunolly Road near Simson. 

UPDATE: 2.18PM: FIRE crews are on their way to a blaze in Strathallan. 

The fire broke out about 2.10pm. 

UPDATE: 2PM: A FIRE has broken out in Ladys Pass halfway between the towns of Heathcote and Toolleen. 

A Country Fire Authority spokeswoman said the fire was caused by an illegal burn off and one fire truck was responding to the incident. 

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.

UPDATE 1.24PM: Volunteers at the Golden Square Fire Brigade have just enjoyed some bacon and eggs for lunch. Crews are on standby and were busy cooking up a storm while they kept an eye on the weather forecast.

Read more about Fire Crews on Standby

UPDATE 12.20PM: Fire activity in the Toolleen area has subsided. The grassfire has been deemed safe by CFA.

Smoke may still be visible from nearby communities and roads.

UPDATE 10AM: No fire incidents have been reported for our region as yet today. A CFA spokeswoman told the Bendigo Advertiser this morning Victorian fire services were ready and well prepared.

UPDATE 8.30AM: Today is a day of Total Fire Ban with fire crews bracing for extreme fire danger. 

Golden Square Fire Brigade posted on Facebook last night: "Our crews will be on stand by tomorrow (Saturday) with EXTREME fire weather predicted across the Northern Country.

 "Even if you live in built up areas within Bendigo you must discuss with your family what you intend to do tomorrow with the expected conditions ... Last minute decisions to leave with a fire approaching is too late."

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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