LODDON and Campaspe residents have been urged to seize the ‘small window of opportunity’ to clean up their properties, with the fire danger period to start next week.
Restrictions will be in force from 1am on Friday, November 17, in both municipalities.
The fire danger period has already been declared in several shires, including Buloke north, Gannawarra, and Swan Hill.
The date has yet to be announced for Greater Bendigo.
Most forecasts indicate an above-average fire season in District 20, where both the Loddon and Campaspe shires are located.
CFA District 20 operations manager Peter Taylor said little to no rain throughout the district since August had dried out the grassland, particularly forest areas, and made them extremely vulnerable to fire.
He urged people to reduce the fuel loads on the properties to ensure, if a fire did occur, it would have less chance of taking hold or spreading.
“While the CFA does all it can, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires,” Mr Taylor said.
However, he advised anybody planning to clean up their property by burning off to do so properly.
“Out of control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs are a major and avoidable headache for brigades,” Mr Taylor said.
“Avoid burning off when high winds are forecast – not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.”
He said people should consult their council for information about burn-off restrictions in their area.
All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
People can be fined more than $21,600 and/or face 12 months in jail for lighting a fire in the open without a permit from the Country Fire Authority or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer during the fire danger period.
Fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall are factored into the fire danger period.