Prepare for fire season

By Country News

The CFA says Victoria is facing an earlier, longer and, in some parts, more severe fire season than normal.

CFA operations officer Peter Bell said the fire danger period was fast approaching, so any burn-offs needed to be conducted soon.

‘‘Across the state, we are witnessing low levels of rainfall and a build-up of fuel loads on the ground,’’ Mr Bell said.

‘‘These are conditions that could lead to a bad fire season.

‘‘The best way to defend your homes is to prepare before the fire danger period begins. This includes cleaning up your gardens, your gutters and removing flammable waste from your yards.

‘‘Many property owners dispose of this waste with a burn-off, but consider alternative methods such as mulching, chipping or taking green waste to a transfer station.’’

Mr Bell also highlighted the importance of communication.

‘‘It is important that as well as registering your burn-offs, you notify your neighbours that they may see smoke.’’

To keep your burn-off safe and legal:

■Check fire restrictions with your local council and register your burn on 1800668511.

■Check and monitor weather conditions, particularly wind.

■To avoid unnecessary calls to emergency services, notify your neighbours beforehand.

■Leave a 3m firebreak, free from flammable materials around the burn.

■Have sufficient equipment and water to stop the fire spreading.

■Never leave a burn-off unattended — stay for its entire duration.

■If your burn-off gets out of control, call 000 immediately.

■For more information about preparing your property, go to:

■Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority on 1800 668 511 or email: