Fire permits considered

March 11, 2017

Councils in CFA District 22 have been advised conditions are suitable for considering applications 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 shires of Strathbogie, Moira and Greater Shepparton.

Schedule 13 permits burning for agricultural purposes and only apply 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 May 1 — 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 extinguishment.

Mr Owen encouraged operators of agricultural businesses 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 you to the police and there’s a chance for prosecution,’’ he said.

Mr Owen urged residents who saw a fire to consider if it might be a planned burn before calling 000.

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

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