THE Fire Danger Period will begin in the coming weeks in a number of municipalities in the Country Fire Authority's North West Region.
From November 15, the fire danger period will begin in the Gannawarra Shire Council.
A week later, on November 22, the period will begin in both Loddon and Campaspe Shire Council.
The Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Victoria released on August 26 identified potential for increased grassfire conditions for the coming fire season.
The report found much of Victoria had experienced average to above average rainfall during winter and this was likely to result in continuous grass and crop fuels through most areas west and north of the Great Dividing Range.
CFA District 20 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Bryan Suckling reminded Victorians these conditions can present challenges to our firefighters and communities and it's important to prepare.
"We've had plenty of winter rainfall resulting in high fuel loads in the grasslands," he said.
"This is good news for our cropping farmers with increased yields, however as the weather warms our fire potential rapidly grows.
"Reducing fuel loads will decrease the chance of a fire starting or spreading. Fuel reduction practices such as slashing, mowing, spraying and mechanical removal will significantly reduce the risk."
Mr Suckling said the CFA and Forest Fire Management Victoria will be doing everything they can do to prepare for the fire season and protect the community.
He said there was still the opportunity to clean up properties.
"Out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary callouts for our members," he said.
"You should regularly monitor weather conditions and avoid burning off in windy conditions - not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards."
Mr Suckling said once the Fire Danger Period comes into effect, CFA will have a zero tolerance approach to any fires caused by negligent behaviour.
"Expect any escaped or uncontrolled fire you start during the FDP to be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police," he said.
Once a Fire Danger Period has been declared in your local government area, fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.
There are very strict conditions attached to these permits and the liability sits with the permit holder to Fire Danger Period restrictions will apply only to these municipalities from the respective commencement dates.
Further Fire Danger Periods will be introduced across Victoria in the coming months in accordance with local conditions.
If people intend to use fire to clean up around their properties prior to the Fire Danger Period they should carefully monitor conditions and register their burn with ESTA on 1800 668 51.
During the Fire Danger Period permits for essential burning only can be applied for through the Fire Permits Website www.firepermits.vic.gov.au.
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