Fire Watch - Total Fire Ban day 14.01.14

Keep up to date with fire activity through central Victoria today...

UPDATE: 8.44PM: FIRE crews are heading to a grassfire in Arnold West on McIntyre-Inglewood Road.  

UPDATE 5.32PM: A DAY of Total Fire Ban has been issued for the Northern Country, North Central and Central regions tomorrow.  

If you are unsure of your district, click here

UPDATE 2.00PM: There is a small fire at Murchison, according to the FireReady app. 

A larger blaze is burning at Toolamba. 

Advice has been issued by the CFA for Kialla West, Arcadia, Toolamba, Old Toolamba, and Murchison North.

Firefighters are responding to hay bales on fire in the OLD TOOLAMBA area, on Bitcon Road between Downer Road and Toolamba Road.

The advice says: "There is currently no threat to you, but you should plan for what you will do if the situation changes."

UPDATE 12.30PM: Still no fire activity in the Bendigo region, says CFA duty officer Trent McKinnon. 

UPDATE 10.15AM: No fire activity has been reported in the Bendigo region, said CFA duty officer Trent McKinnon. 

"We ask that residents remain vigilant," he said. 

"We expect everyone to have their fire plans in place.

"People must abide by the conditions of a Total Fire Ban."

To find out what you can and cannot do on a Total Fire Ban day, scroll down. 

UPDATE 8.51AM: Ah, make that 32 on the clock!

UPDATE 8.30AM: The temperature on the famous Mitchell Street clock has just hit 30!

Thankfully, there's no wind about1

Remember, it's a Total Fire Ban so please take every precaution today.

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

Unsure of your fire district - check your here

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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