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Fire sparks warning for burn offs

by
February 16, 2017

Fire authorities are warning people they could face penalties if they are caught lighting a fire in the fire danger period.

People are being warned not to light fires in the open this summer even if the weather is cool, after firefighters were called to an illegal burn-off in the Fire Danger Period last week.

Fire authorities are reminding people fires cannot be lit in the open during the period except with a permit, and could face prosecution.

They’re also warning that rain or cooler temperatures, such as those seen during the past two weeks, do not mean burn-offs can be ignited.

On February 6, the temperature in Cobram only reached 22.3°C and the area recorded about 12mm of rain.

Cobram Fire Brigade captain Adrian Hilder said volunteer firefighters were called to an illegal unattended burn-off on a private property last Monday about 5.30pm.

Even with a permit, legal burn-offs must always be attended.

‘‘We are still in the Fire Danger Period and even if the weather is cooler, it doesn’t mean you can light a fire outdoors,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘Anyone caught lighting an illegal burn-off can be fined or prosecuted.’’

Mr Hilder said attending illegal burn-offs in the Fire Danger Period was frustrating for local firefighters, as it diverted valuable resources away from where they may be needed elsewhere.

Victoria Police said the penalty for recklessly causing a bushfire was up to 15 years jail.

Lighting a fire on a day of Total Fire Ban can also attract a fine of around $37000 or up to two years in jail.

●For more information on what people can or can’t do during the fire danger season, visit the Country Fire Authority’s ‘Can I or Can’t I’ website at http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can/

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