By Mitchell Clarke
Victorian landowners are being urged to check weather conditions and fully extinguish burn offs after the CFA spent the past weekend following a spate of private burn offs which were left unattended.
Acting Chief Officer Gavin Freeman said the behaviour was reckless.
“Despite the end of the Fire Danger Period, landowners still need to exercise a high degree of caution when conducting burn offs,’ Mr Freeman said.
‘”The call outs of the past weekend have been a waste of CFA’s time and resources.
“Last weekend, CFA crews responded to a ridiculous number of burn offs that were left by careless landowners meaning our crews lost time with their families and their jobs fixing your mistakes.”
Mr Freeman said it wasn’t difficult to conduct a legal and safe burn off and to ensure that weather conditions were suitable.
“It is important to only burn off when the conditions are right and to check the weather forecast for the day of the burn and for a few days afterwards,” he said.
“You should refrain from burning off on days when hot and windy conditions are forecast.”
The notice comes after the Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) called on landowners to check weather conditions before burning off after low prevailing winds and private burn offs in the Latrobe Valley contributed to poor air quality on Sunday 19 and Monday 20 May.
EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood said that smoke from this incident and other burn offs remained in the atmosphere as there was little to no wind to disperse it.
“Eventually it fell back over the Valley contributing to the very poor air quality,” she said.
“EPA does not regulate private burn offs but is asking people to incorporate weather forecasting before they light their fires.
“We anticipate low winds again over the Valley in the next few days and urge them to hold off until winds pick up enough to disperse the smoke they create.”
Planned burning involves lighting fires under carefully managed conditions to reduce the risk of bushfire.
Forest Fire Management Victoria and Parks Victoria undertake planned burns across the state.
Escaped burn offs or those not conducted properly carry penalties under law.
Residents must register all burn-offs with ESTA on 1800 668 511.
For more information about burning off, check: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/burning-off/.