Burn-off bungles leave firies fuming

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Cardinia fire brigades have been called out to a high number of private burn-offs this week, causing volunteers to respond unnecessarily.

While legal, the CFA has urged residents to take “extreme care” when performing private burn-offs after responding to a number of “out-of-control” incidents across Melbourne since the end of fire restrictions.

The Cardinia brigade received triple-zero calls for more than 20 “false alarm” reports of fires at private properties across the municipality over the past week alone.

Operations Officer for Cardinia Municipality Jim Dore said property owners needed to be aware that they have legal obligations when burning off and failing to comply with local council by-laws may lead to a fine.

He said that burning off undergrowth and other vegetation is generally permitted outside of the Declared Fire Danger Period, but landowners are required to register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority by phoning 1800 668 511 and should notify neighbours at least two hours before the burn.

“This ensures that brigades are not called out unnecessarily, as any smoke sightings reported will be checked with the register before activation of any brigades,” Mr Dore said.

“False alarm calls to unregistered burn-offs take volunteer firefighters away from workplaces, families and other emergencies.”

Mr Dore said other recommended safety measures include checking the weather forecast for the day of the planned burn off and the days following, to establish a fire break of more than three metres cleared of all flammable material and to ensure there are enough people to monitor, contain and extinguish the burn safely.

Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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