Fire rules kick in

Fire rules kick in

13 November 2007

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Australia — The bushfire season has begun officially in parts of Victoria,including the North East.

Fire restrictions started from 1am yesterday, which mean fires in the openair are now prohibited unless a permit has been granted.

CFA Wodonga acting operations manager, Wayne Petford, said recent rains hadonly delayed what is expected to be another dangerous fire season.

“Spring rains put the season back a week or two but we face a more activefire season than normal,” Mr Petford said.

“The rainfall from March to August has been among the lowest on record andpredictions are for a long, hot, dry season.”

Restrictions mean a general ban applies to lighting fires except when apermit, obtainable from fire stations, has been issued.

Under certain conditions, fires can be lit and the full details are availablein Can I or Can’t I? brochures available from fire stations and on the CFA’swebsite.

The restrictions also mean farmers and other landholders must carry a fireextinguisher or knapsack sprayer on all farm machinery.

There are also regulations on using welding, cutting and grinding equipmentduring the fire restriction period.

Mr Petford said lightning remained one of the biggest threats to firefightersthis season, with dying trees allowing more sunlight into forested areas whichhas caused more grass growth which can feed flames.

“We encourage people to report fires whenever they see them,” he said.

“We also ask people camping to keep a radio handy to keep up with totalfire ban day notifications.”

Country people are also urged to develop a bushfire plan which should includepreparations to defend against fire and an evacuation strategy.

Mr Petford said people should not delay over any evacuation decision withearly decisions one way or the other crucial.

Brigades in the North East have received a slight boost in resources thisyear with an additional two four-wheel-drive vehicles loaded with 400L of waterready to tackle hard to access areas.

Both sides of the Border now have fire restrictions in place.

Restrictions in NSW came into place in mid-October.

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