Fire Danger Period commencing in Shepparton later this month

By Liz Mellino

Locals are being urged to act now ahead of the summer season, with the Fire Danger Period set to begin in Greater Shepparton later this month.

The period will begin on Monday, October 28 at 1am for a number of municipalities in the Country Fire Authority's North East Region, including Greater Shepparton, Moira and Strathbogie.

Running until May 1 next year, normal bushfire activity is expected across Victoria for the season.

However despite the forecast, the CFA is reminding locals that an average fire season in Victoria can be a bad one.

CFA District 22 Operations Manager Tony Owen said low winter rainfall across the Goulburn Valley meant the grass and bush were dry.

“The fire potential is further increased by Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” he said.

“What little rain we have had has given good grass growth on roadsides and unmanaged areas, so we have good fuels in place with the potential of a busy grass fire season.

“Couple that with very dry bush areas and we are looking at a very busy and hazardous fire season for firefighters and our emergency management partners.”

Mr Owen urged Greater Shepparton locals to use the next couple of weeks to clean up their properties if they haven't already done so.

“Help mitigate the risk of fire in our community; reducing fuel loads now will ensure that if a fire does break out it has less chance of taking hold or spreading,” he said.

“People need to be aware that if using fire to clean up around their properties they need to register these on 1800 668 511 - so far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burnoffs have already caused unnecessary call-outs for brigades.”

During the Fire Danger Period fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer.

Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $19,000 and 12 months' imprisonment.

Mr Owen also reminded locals they should not burn off when winds were high or forecast, not only on the day of the burn but for the days following.

“For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council,” he said.

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