SURF COAST, City of Greater Geelong and Bellarine residents are now in the fire danger period as Country Fire Authorities and local councils encourage safe behaviour and reinforce key rules during this period.
A statement from the CFA this week said that due to significant grass growth in Victoria, it may be a grassfire dominated season.
In reassuring news for Victoria, the CFA has predicted a less severe bushfire season this summer compared to last – particularly in the east of the state.
This is due to average to above average rainfall during spring, combined with an outlook of above average rainfall for much of Victoria from December to February.
A comprehensive list of dos and don’ts has been released by the CFA regarding what restrictions apply on days of total fire ban during the fire
It addresses rules pertaining to acceptable barbecue practice, driving vehicles around crops, grass and other vegetation, and using items such as chainsaws and lawnmowers.
According to Bruce Golightly, Captain of the Queenscliff Fire Brigade, residents and holiday makers need to be aware of the rules.
“People need to be careful not to use any open fire cooking facilities on total fire ban days.
They can use a properly constructed gas and electric barbecue, but certainly not a wood fired barbecue,” he said.
A key priority for residents is clearing leaf matter and flammable items around their property, on roofs and in gutters.
Mr Golightly said teenagers starting fires during dune parties was a primary area of concern.
“We’re not in a big bush fire prone area like say Lorne and Anglesea and places like that. But we’ve got our significant areas of fire danger around the beach banks where there is coastal vegetation.
“The police do a great job keeping parties under control, so we rely on their help.”
According to Adrian Bryan, Acting Commander at the Winchelsea Fire Rescue Victoria, the major issue is fast moving grass fires.
“Heavy spring rains have led to an increase in fuel loads in the open pastures and on road sides. Once fire is introduced into the landscape, the result will be fast moving grass fires that propelled by north winds on hot days will have the potential to make their way into the Otway Ranges with potentially catastrophic results,” he said.
Head to cfa.vic.gov.au to learn more about the fire danger period.