Escaped burn-offs a timely reminder

Following a year in which CFA volunteers responded to 815 incidents caused by escaped burn-offs, fire crews are urging landowners, including those in Wyndham, to take extra precautions before lighting up.

With fire restrictions now lifted across the state, private residents are taking the opportunity to burn off grass, stubble, weeds, and undergrowth to maintain their properties.

While encouraged, CFA reminds Victorians to monitor local weather forecasts in the lead up to ignition.

In 2023, more than 22,500 volunteer hours were utilised responding to incidents involving escaped private burn-offs. Most call outs were during April and May and later in spring from September to November.

CFA acting chief officer Garry Cook said it is a timely reminder for private landowners to make sure they have enough people and water on hand to monitor, contain and extinguish their burn-off safely.

“The incidents in 2023 resulted in over 12,100 volunteers jumping on the truck to respond. This year, we would love to see that number decline significantly,” Mr Cook said.

“We know burn-offs can flare-up several days afterwards, so it is important residents are consistently monitoring wind conditions before and after their burning day, while also notifying their neighbours to be mindful of smoke.

“The overarching message is clear- please don’t leave your burn-off unattended.”

Victorians are urged to register their burn-offs online through the Fire Permits Victoria website to provide agencies with important information to manage fire risk effectively and to allow triple-0 call takers to focus on emergency calls.

“Of the 815 escaped burn offs, 69 per cent of them had no record of being registered and 113 required more than five CFA vehicles,” Mr Cook said.

“If you light a fire to burn-off, you own it. Registering it is important and may avoid unnecessary responses from CFA brigades, but it does not remove your responsibility.”