CFA urge caution ahead of winter

THE Country Fire Authority is urging all residents to remain fire cautious ahead of winter.

Loddon Mallee Region community education co-ordinator Paul Tangey said there were a number of safety precautions residents could take to reduce the risk of fire.

"Do not overload electrical points," he said.

"Use safety-approved power boards and never leave cooking unattended.

"Before using a heater or other appliance ensure you check them and clean them where required."

Mr Tangey said residents should not place clothing too close to the heater, whether it’s an open fire, a gas heater or ducted heating.

"Fires can happen anytime of the year," he said.

"More people die from house fires than bush fires.

“People need to remain cautious.”

Mr Tangey said people should be wary of electric blankets and clothes dryers.

Meanwhile, fire danger periods in the City of Greater Bendigo, Mitchell Shire, Mount Alexander Shire and Macedon Ranges Shire will end on April 14.

CFA district 2 operations manager Steven Smith said it was important residents took extreme care when burning off even though the fire danger period was ending.

"Recent grassfires demonstrated how quickly fires could take hold," he said. 

"Grass fires travel faster than you can run.

"They can threaten properties and even kill."

Mr Smith said in some areas the landscape was dry and received low levels of soaking rain," he said. 

"People should have a fire plan and prepare for a fire - never be complacent."

Fire danger periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.

Visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 for more information.

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