AUTHORITIES have urged people to remain vigilant and avoid complacency as the fire danger period for Campaspe Shire began Wednesday at 1am.
The Fire Danger Period is when CFA restricts the use of fire in the community, but it is not the same as a total fire ban.
It means a fire cannot be lit in the open air unless you have a permit or comply with certain requirements.
If you don’t obtain a permit, you could be breaking the law and may be prosecuted.
With 11 out of control fires in the past two weeks, Echuca Fire Brigade Captain Paul Nicoll said dry conditions are keeping firefighters extremely busy.
Captain Nicoll said fires are getting out of control because people are underestimating the conditions.
“There is no moisture underground,” he said.
“Wind gets to the fire and allows it to catch dry grass. We implore people to be vigilant when burning off, control the burn and ensure it is extinguished properly.
“We also encourage people to download the VicEmergency app to stay informed with alerts and warnings.”
Campaspe Inspector Geoff Owen said police took a zero-tolerance approach to deliberately lit fires, with a Kyabram man recently charged with lighting fires on a roadside.
“There are firebugs in the community and people deliberately lighting fires will be prosecuted,” he said.
“We need the eyes and ears of the community to report suspicious activity. If you see something suspicious, call 000.”
Insp. Owen also said Operation Firesetter would be rolled out for the new Fire Danger Period.
The operation is a state-wide coordinated initiative that will intensify during periods of high fire danger.
As part of the operation, police will be conducting highly visible patrols to prevent and apprehend arsonists.
Investigations into suspicious fire activity and bushfire arson persons of interest will also be undertaken.
Campaspe Shire municipal fire prevention officer Ben Trevena said there were practical steps homeowners could take to reduce their fire risk.
“People should clean up around their homes and surrounding areas and clear any long grass,” he said.
“Move clutter from houses, be vigilant on hot and windy days and always check barbecue gas hoses. We have also begun inspections of private property to ensure compliance with fire regulations.”