.

 The burn-off window is closing at the fire season looms.

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington highlighted the need to prepare properties ahead of an earlier, longer and, in some parts, more severe fire season than normal.

“Across the state, we are witnessing low levels of rainfall and a build-up of fuel loads on the ground,” he said.

“These are conditions that could lead to a bad fire season.

“The best way to defend your homes is to prepare before the fire danger period begins.

“This includes cleaning up your gardens, your gutters and removing flammable waste from your yards.

“Many property owners dispose of this waste with a burn-off, but consider alternative methods such as mulching, chipping or taking green waste to a transfer station.”

Mr Warrington said residents who wished to conduct burn-offs on their private properties needed to follow some basic rules.

“Check weather conditions, monitor the wind, and follow local council laws and regulations,” he said.

“Before lighting up, register your burn-off.”

Mr Warrington advised leaving a three metre fire break around the fire, free from flammable materials, and also highlighted the importance of communication.

“It is important that as well as registering your burn-offs, you notify your neighbours that they may see smoke,” he said.

“False alarms take CFA crews away from real emergencies, can increase the risk to the community and can be very frustrating for our crews, many of whom are volunteers.

“By registering your burn-off, any reports of smoke or fire will be cross-checked with the burn-off register to avoid unnecessary response of fire services.”

Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority

(ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au.

“When conducting burn-offs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire,” Mr Warrington said.

“Check the weather, winds must be light and temperatures low.

“Make sure you have sufficient water on hand at all times and fully extinguish the burn once completed.

“Escaped burn-offs or those not conducted properly will result in you being liable for the consequences.”

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