The Fire Danger Period began at 1am on Monday, October 28 for City of Greater Shepparton, and Moira and Strathbogie shires.
CFA District 22 operations manager Tony Owen said low winter rainfall across the north-east meant grass had become dry and the fire danger had increased.
“Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” Mr Owen said.
To avoid starting a fire or receiving a significant fine, the CFA has asked residents to take extra care this season.
Growth caused by spring rainfall can become high fuel load in summer if not kept under control.
Mr Owen said the community needed to take responsibility for fire prevention.
“Reducing fuel loads will ensure that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold or spreading,” he said.
Residents of these regions have been warned to take action before it's too late by removing dry grass and leaf litter from around homes and sheds and storing wood away from buildings.
Mr Owen said community members needed to register burn-offs on the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
“So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary call-outs for brigades.
“Property owners need to take great care when using fire.
“For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council,” Mr Owen said.
Residents have been asked not to burn off on windy days or light logs until restrictions are lifted.
Mr Owen said the CFA would crack down on those whose negligent behaviour started fires.
“Expect any fire you start to be fully investigated by CFA and Victoria Police,” he said.
The CFA or a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer can issue permits for fires critical to industry, agriculture and other purposes under strict conditions.
Fire Danger Period information:
● A permit is required to operate a gas-powered scare gun.
● Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of more than $19,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment.
● Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/farms
● A Total Fire Ban declaration means no fires can be lit for the declared district for that day unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued.
Fire Danger Period information and restrictions are published on the CFA website.