AS continuing wet weather promotes vegetation growth, it's time to get properties fire-ready and practice fire plans with your families.
Emergency services are warning a wet spring meant more growth and greater fuel loads toward the end of summer.
Restrictions for Glenelg Shire commence December 7 and end May 5, and on December 14 Corangamite and Colac-Otway Shires are on restrictions.
Southern Grampians Central and North, and Northern Grampians' restrictions started November 30 and will be lifted May 5.
The Fire Danger Period is when CFA restricts the use of fire in the community to help prevent fires from starting.
CFA declares the Fire Danger Period for each municipality at different times in the lead up to the fire season. It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions.
The Fire Danger Period may be declared as early as October in some municipalities, and typically remains in place until the fire danger lessens, which could be as late as May.
The Fire Danger Period is not the same thing as a Total Fire Ban.
A Warrnambool City Council spokesman said fire season preparation is now something that we all need to commit to.
"It is rare for an Australian summer to pass without the presence of bushfire on some part of our land mass," he said.
"At a practical, household level, there are simple steps people can take to help reduce the risk of fire."
- Clearing leaves and branches from gutters and around the garden.
- Removing undergrowth or unwanted rubbish around your property.
- Remove dead or damaged branches from trees and bushes.
- We encourage people to visit the CFA website for more tips and hints.
"Council is committed to playing its role in fire prevention.
"Part of our work includes mowing, tree maintenance, weed spraying and grading where required.
"The bulk of council's fire prevention work is carried out when grasses begin to dry out - if done any earlier the grasses will regrow and the risk of fire returns."
Moyne Shire Council is encouraging residents and property owners to prepare for fire and help limit its potential damage, ahead of the expected warmer weather.
Chief executive officer, Bill Millard said that good preparation can go a long way towards reducing the damage that a fire may cause and its impact on the community.
"Whilst our dedicated CFA volunteers and Emergency Services provide outstanding assistance, every member of the community has a role to play in fire prevention and preparation," said Mr Millard.
"There are a few key tasks you can do to help reduce the risk of fire damage including keeping your grass short, moving wood piles away from the house, correctly storing flammables, getting rid of dry grass, twigs and bark and clearing out roof gutters.
"Council strongly supports fire planning and preparation, ensuring that residents and property owners have a clear understanding of the measures to be undertaken in preparing their home and properties for fire season."
Are you planning to use fire this summer? Do you know if you need a permit?— cfa_updates (@CFA_Updates) November 30, 2020
Victorians can now apply for permits online using the new Fire Permits Victoria website. Before using fire this summer check, apply, notify at https://t.co/0VXuS5eekopic.twitter.com/neJQhXeoCl
Corangamite Shire municipal emergency management officer Sharna Whitehand encouraged residents to clear around their properties before summer arrives.
"You may need to cut vegetation more than once," she said. "Getting on top of it early will make it easier to manage later on when conditions are more demanding."
"It's a good time to start preparing now instead of leaving it until the last minute.
"Tidying up around your yard, especially in gutters and around your house, can help safeguard your family and neighbours against bushfires."
Any flammable material, such as grass more than 10 centimetres long, will need to be cut. Fallen branches, dead vegetation and items such as newspapers may need to be removed. If you have one, clear your firebreak, and move firewood away from your home.
Council fire prevention officers have been inspecting properties around the shire to identify any dangerous fuel levels that need to be cleaned up.
Fire prevention notices have been issued to property owners if the officer found anything on their land that would be a danger to life or property in a fire.
Ms Whitehand said anyone who received a notice would have three or four weeks to clean up before the CFA declares the Fire Danger Period.
"We've issued 100 fewer notices than last year. High numbers of landowners have been doing the right thing. There's been a really good response."
If residents have been issued with a fire prevention notice, the owner of the land must comply by the due date or face a $1660 fine, as set by the state government.
To help residents get ready for fire season, Corangamite Council is offering free domestic greenwaste disposal to Shire residents at the Naroghid Landfill and all transfer stations until Sunday December 13. Kerbside greenwaste collections have also been doubled, with weekly pickups until Saturday January 2 to offset the public holiday.
For more information on how to prepare for the bushfire season, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare
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