Fire restrictions now strongly in force

Published on 06 December 2018

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Fire restrictions now strongly in force

CFA and Colac Otway Shire Council want to remind people that fire restrictions have now been in force in the area since November 19.

Despite recent showers, underlying rainfall deficits make the area very susceptible to fires becoming uncontrollable easily.

While fire restrictions mean you cannot have a fire in the Open Air at all, there are some exemptions for cooking, or if you have a permit obtained from Council’s Fire Prevention Officer or the CFA.

The dry conditions, windy weather and recent escaped burn offs have prompted authorities to withdraw the issuing of all permits to burn green waste from now until after the fire season has passed.

Last weekend a number of illegal burns were reported and the CFA says “this is unacceptable”.

There were also a number of previously extinguished burn offs that were lit legally that reignited in the warm and windy conditions and then quickly spread, destroying property and causing headaches for local fire brigades.

Some of these burns were from weeks ago; this has indicated to the CFA that permits should no longer be issued until the fire danger has passed.  

Dry soil conditions means that fires can remain undetected when burning below ground from previous above ground fires.

The area is expecting more wind and warmer days later this week and fire dangers will again rise. CFA urge all landholders to check any previous burn off sites and to check with Council or CFA if they are unsure about the use of fire. 

Anyone seeing a fire from now on should report it by dialling 000 immediately.

People caught lighting, or allowing a fire to remain alight while fire restrictions are in force face the possibility of a $19,342 Fine, or 12 months’ imprisonment, or both.

 Quotes attributable to Mark Gunning – CFA Operations Manager

“Control of Fires in the landscape is a key part of CFA keeping Communities Safe

“CFA will provide details of illegal burn offs to Victoria Police, who have indicated that they will have a Zero Tolerance to illegal activity.”

 Quotes attributable to Stewart Anderson – Manager Environment & Community Safety, Colac Otway Shire 

“Council work closely with CFA to protect people in the Colac Otway Shire from unnecessary risk of fire.

“CFA set directions for Council officers to follow when considering any applications for permits to burn.”