CFA predicts an early bushfire season

The fire danger period will begin as of Monday, November 12, earlier than usual, with the Country Fire Authority predicting an early bushfire season.

The early fire restrictions across District 15, which encompasses the areas of Hepburn and Moorabool Shires and Ballarat, come as the CFA released its Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Southern Australia in early September, which suggested the Victorian fire season would be more active due to warmer and drier conditions. 

CFA District 15 Operations Manager Chris Bigham said parts of Victoria had already experienced grass and bushfires when the fire danger period was introduced in Gippsland in September –  the earliest date on record. 

“The warmer and drier than average weather over recent months, teamed with recent rainfall causing growth in pasture and roadsides means residents need to be prepared for the imminent fire season. Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does occur, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading.”

“While CFA and its partner agencies Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management, DELWP and Emergency Management Victoria are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires,” Mr Bigham said.

He said it was vital residents used the small window of opportunity before the restrictions are enforced to clean up their properties, but warned residents not to burn off when high winds are forecast.

During the fire danger period, which is based on conditions and take fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall into account, fires cannot be lit in open air without a written permit from the CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.