The CFA declared the Fire Danger Period just in time, with the temperature predicting to be in the high 30s on Wednesday and Thursday and expected to reach 40 degrees in Pakenham on Friday.
The 2019–20 Fire Danger Period for Cardinia commenced at 1am on Monday 16 December.
During the Fire Danger Period fires and activities with the potential to generate sparks cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from the CFA.
Fire Danger Periods are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
A Total Fire Ban declaration means people cannot light any fires within the declared district for that day, unless there is a specific exemption or special permit issued. This applies irrespective of the Fire Restriction status for a given municipality.
Lighting a fire in the open without a permit is an offence and can bring a penalty of over $17,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment. However, barbeques and fires for cooking and warmth do not require a permit, but must be lit in properly constructed fireplaces.
Cardinia Mayor Jeff Springfield encouraged residents to be informed and adhere to the restrictions that are in place during the Fire Danger Period.
“The fire restrictions enforced each year work to prevent bush and grass fires from starting and it is vital that we all follow and understand these restrictions,” he said.
“It is also up to all of us to maintain our properties, stay informed by using more than one source of information, and to understand the levels of warnings, what they mean and what you should do if a fire should occur.”
Council’s Fire Hazard Inspection Program has commenced, and to date, around 150 properties have been issued with a fire prevention notice, which directs residents to clear their properties for the summer season. Failure to comply with these notices can attract a large fine.
Properties are inspected if they have been identified through a report, if a complaint has been received, or where they have received a notice in previous years.
To find out more about what is and is not permitted during the Fire Danger Period, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/can or call 1800 226 226.
For information during an emergency, residents are encouraged to visit www.emergency.vic.gov.au, follow @VicEmergency on Facebook, or download the Vic Emergency mobile App.
Farmers, particularly new farmers, bush block owners or hobby farmers, can access information about legal guidelines and practical advice at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/farming
To learn more about Council’s Fire Hazard Inspection Program, visit www.cardinia.vic.gov.au/FHIP