News

CFA says time is right to allow burning-off

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March 10, 2017

A recommendation has been made to councils within CFA District 22 that conditions are suitable for the consideration of application for permits to burn under Schedule 13 of the Country Fire Authority Act.

CFA District 22 acting operations manager Tony Owen made the recommendation, which applies to the municipalities of Moira, Strathbogie and Greater Shepparton.

Schedule 13 permits burning for agricultural purposes and only applies to the burning of grass or stubble up to 6mm in diameter.

‘‘We believe the conditions are right for these permits to be offered, (it’s) up to the municipalities whether they want to offer them,’’ Mr Owen said.

The permits may be issued from this week, despite the fire danger period not being scheduled to end until May 1.

Mr Owen said the district would look at a new termination date over the next month or so after carefully considering weather predictions from the Bureau of Meteorology and other factors.

‘‘We recommend to the chief officers when to introduce and terminate the fire danger period,’’ Mr Owen said.

‘‘At the moment we’re saying it might be the 1st of May — that will be the default date.’’

Burning-off grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation during the Fire Danger Period is permitted only if the landholder has a written permit issued by the municipal fire prevention officer, a fire prevention officer of a public authority or by the CFA District office.

A permit is only valid if all conditions are followed, including light-up times, notifications, weather conditions and required means of extinguishing the fire.

Mr Owen encouraged agricultural business operators to understand permit conditions and risks when planning their burn-offs.

‘‘We’re very strict on our permit conditions, if you burn without a permit we will refer to the police and there’s a chance for prosecution,’’ he said.

Mr Owen urged the public that if they do see a fire, to consider it might be a planned burn before calling 000.

‘‘Especially of a night time, fires look a lot closer than they are,’’ he said.

—Taylah Burrows

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