With the declared Fire Danger Period ending tomorrow, Wellington Shire Council is urging locals to register their burn-offs with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and check if they require a permit to burn.
Burning in residential areas is illegal without a permit, which can be obtained through Council.
Burns in Rural Living or Farming zones do not require a permit, but Wellington Shire Council Mayor Alan Hall urges residents to register their burns with the CFA.
“We know there are plenty of people living out of town that have cleaned up their properties and their bonfires ready to light,” he said.
“However, we are still experiencing a warm and dry autumn, so please exercise caution when planning your burn.
“Ensure you check the weather conditions and make sure you register your burn with the CFA.
“The last thing everyone wants is an escaped fire or a fire truck attending your place when it’s not needed.”
Cr Hall said it was also important residents understood that even if they obtain a permit, register their burn and follow the rules, if their burn escapes, they may still be held legally responsible for any damages or losses that occur.
“The onus is on the person lighting the fire to ensure everything is kept safe and the fire doesn’t escape,” he said.
“So please make sure the weather conditions are safe and you have everything at hand to keep the fire contained.”
Council received many complaints last season about burn-offs in residential areas, which are illegal without a permit.
Lighting of outdoor fires in residential areas is generally prohibited unless the fire is contained and is used for the purposes of warmth or cooking.
This means that contained fire pits, pot-belly stoves and the like are ok.
But permits are required to light incinerators or burn rubbish in town.
Permits will only be granted if there is no alternative to burning, the burn can be done safely, and that smoke is unlikely to impact on neighbours.
The burning of offensive materials, such as rubber, plastic, dangerous goods or substances, paint, and food scraps is not permitted at any time.
Cr Hall said people living in residential areas should look at alternatives to burning.
“If you live in town, green waste can be mulched and used on your garden, or made in to compost,” he said.
“You can dispose of your green waste at our local waste facilities for a small fee, or there are several private companies who offer green waste pick-up.
“It’s well worth finding alternatives, because if you are caught burning off in a residential area the fine is $200 and in some cases you may be prosecuted.”
To apply for a permit to burn, or to clarify whether you need a permit, contact Wellington Shire Council on 1300 366 244.
Further information about fire restrictions and regulations can be found at the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au