TODAY is officially the end of summer but the bushfire season is not yet over in Victoria.
Crime Stoppers Victoria is joining with the State's Emergency Services to provide an update on the fire season to date, to thank the community for their efforts and involvement over the summer months and to ask them to continue to be vigilant as the fire season continues.
Crime Stoppers Victoria chief executive Samantha Hunter said the community played a vital role.
"Each year since Black Saturday community reporting to Crime Stoppers of dangerous and suspicious fire behavior has increased," she said.
"Arson is an activity of enormous concern to the community and there is a great willingness to provide information confidentially to Crime Stoppers.
"Arsonists should be aware that it is not only Victoria Police who is taking a keen interest in their activities but it is neighbours, friends or colleagues that are acting as our eyes and ears".
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright agreed, saying that any information members of the public can give is appreciated.
"Local detectives and members of the Arson and Explosives squad are currently investigating several incidents across the state. We encourage anyone with information on a suspicious fire to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000," he said.
Ms Hunter is also reminding all Victorians to have a fire plan ready.
"We have seen a number of fires this season on the urban fringe so if you live where suburbs interface with grasslands, state forests or bush lands we encourage you to not only be on the lookout for suspicious activity but to have a fire plan," she said.
"Bushfires, whether deliberately or recklessly lit are not just a problem for country people. Every suburban house should have a plan for this kind of emergency" she said.
As we experience some cooler conditions and time off over the Labor Day Weekend and Easter it is more important than ever that the community does not become complacent and remains alert and aware of fire conditions and how to manage fire safely, whether they are in situations of work or play.
Victoria Police are reminding Victorians of the penalties for both deliberately and recklessly lit fires. Arson penalties can include up to 25 years in jail, while being found guilty of recklessly lighting a fire can see fines of up to $34,000 and 15 years in prison.