Tatura Fire Brigade has been tackling a huge workload this week with the lifting of this year’s Fire Danger Period.
The team has a few messages for the community, especially rural landholders.
Burning off on your property: CFA encourages reduction of fire hazards on private property. Those property owners who choose to reduce fuel loads by burning off are reminded of the procedures and responsibilities involved in such operations.
Ongoing obligations on landowners outside the fire danger period: Even though you now don’t need a permit, rural landowners still have specific legal obligations outside the Fire Danger Period for burning off in the open air.
These requirements are incorporated in separate legislation (Summary Offences Act) and provisions including the following:
■Construct a fire break of not less than 3m wide. Note that CFA permits during the Fire Danger Period specify a break of at least 4m;
■Have a responsible adult in charge at all times; and
■Notifying neighbours at least two hours prior to lighting.
The burn-off must be restricted to the landowner’s property and is not allowed to escape to adjoining land including a roadside.
Particularly during this current dry period, landowners must be aware of prevailing and impending weather conditions prior to ignition.
During the Fire Danger Period CFA requires wind speed not exceeding 15km/h.
Enforcement and penalties: CFA now requires police attendance at escaped burns with view to charging for breaches.
Penalties for non-compliance with the Summary Act burn-off provisions are severe, starting with 25 penalty units (currently $3950).
Registering your burn: In addition, landowners should register their burn with the burn-off line on 1800668511, providing location, times and phone contact details.