CFA's key messages for 2014/15

Primary

  • This summer we are expecting above average temperatures which will result in more hot, dry, windy days than usual. Bush and grass will be very dry and fires will start more easily and burn faster and with more intensity.
  • You're at risk of fire this summer if you live near bush, grassland or coastal scrub. You need to understand your fire risk and know what to do.
  • Talk to your family and friends about the fire risk where you live and make plans for what you'll do on a hot, dry, windy day.
  • Leaving early is the safest option to protect yourself and your family.
  • If the Fire Danger Rating is Code Red, Extreme or Severe, you're risking your life if you wait and see what happens. Leaving early is the safest option to protect yourself and your family.
  • It's up to you to stay informed. Check the Fire Danger Rating for your area every day and act to protect yourself and your family by leaving early on hot, dry, windy days.
  • Don't wait and see. Leaving late is risky, it means that a drive that normally takes a few minutes could take hours and you may not be able to get out at all.
  • Don't rely on an official warning to leave. Bushfires can start quickly and threaten homes and lives within minutes.

Secondary

  • On hot, dry, windy days, fires can start and spread quickly.
  • Fire Danger Ratings are not a weather forecast – they tell you how dangerous a fire would be if one started. The higher the rating the higher the risk.
  • If you rely on others for care or support, you need to leave before days where the Fire Danger Rating is Code Red, Extreme or Severe – don't wait to receive a warning.
  • Waiting to see what happens and then leaving late means driving your family through smoke, fallen trees and powerlines, and facing the risk of being trapped or worse. Choose the safer option of leaving early and protect yourself and your family.
  • Warnings are issued when a fire has started and you need to take action. Make sure you are aware of and understand the three levels of warnings and what they mean.
  • There are three different levels of warnings – Advice, Watch and Act and Emergency Warning
  • If you hear or see and Advice message it means there is a fire in your local area. You need to get information and monitor conditions.
  • If you hear or see a Watch and Act message fire is heading toward you. Conditions are changing and you need to start taking action now to protect yourself.
  • If you hear or see an Emergency Warning you are in immediate danger and need to act now. You will be impacted by fire.
  • Don't expect warnings to be issued in any particular order. The first warning you hear about could even be an Emergency Warning.
  • Always use more than one source for warnings. Go to emergency.vic.gov.au, download the FireReady App, check CFA's Facebook page and Twitter, listen to local radio or ring the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
  • If you have a hearing or speech impairment you contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677. Or if you don't speak English call 131 450 for translated information from VBIL.
  • Prepare yourself, your family and your property before summer. Prepare yourself and your family by understanding your risk, deciding what you are going to do and by packing important documents, photos, medications, money and clothes so you can leave with ease before a fire starts. Prepare your property by removing firewood, dry leaves and other rubbish from around your home.
  • Preparing your property before the fires season is the best way to reduce the impact of fire on your home.
  • Keeping your gutters clean, clearing leaves, small twigs and other flammable items from around the property as well as cutting back branches on trees and shrubs help reduce the amount of direct flame contact and radiant heat on your house.
  • You should prepare your property even if your plan is to leave early on hot, dry, windy days.
  • Know your survival options and what you are going to do if you are caught in a bushfire.

'10/30' Rule & '10/50' Rule

The 10/30 and 10/50 rules exempt landowners from needing a permit to remove vegetation on their property in bushfire-prone areas. Check if '10/30' or '10/50' applies in your municipality at cfa.vic.gov.au/clearing.

What is the 10/30 rule?

If 10/30 applies in your municipality, you will not need a permit to remove, destroy or lop:

  • Any vegetation, including trees, within 10 metres of your house
  • Any vegetation, excluding trees, within 30 metres of your house

The 10/30 rule only applies for vegetation on your own land.

The 10/50 rule

If this rule applies in your municipality, you will not need a permit to remove, destroy or lop:

  • Any vegetation, including trees, within 10 metres of your house
  • Any vegetation, excluding trees, within 50 metres of your house

The 10/50 rule only applies for vegetation on your own land.

The fenceline vegetation rule

  • If this rule applies in your municipality, you will not need a permit to remove any vegetation for a combined maximum width of four metres either side of a fence between your property and a neighbouring property.
  • Note that this rule only applies to you if the fence was constructed before 10 September 2009; AND you have the neighbour's permission before undertaking any works.
  • Check if the fenceline vegetation rule applies in your municipality at cfa.vic.gov.au/clearing

New homes

  • Homes built after 10 September 2009 will need a permit to clear vegetation no matter where they are located. Contact your local shire or council for more information.
  • Note that houses that are replacements for a home damaged or destroyed by bushfire between 1 January 2009 and 31 March 2009 are entitled to clear vegetation according to 10/30 and 10/50.

If you're travelling this summer, check the Fire Danger Rating for your destination at emergency.vic.gov.au before you go and when you arrive, and listen to local radio for warnings and advice while you're on the road

Download the FireReady app, bookmark emergency.vic.gov.au, and save the Victorian Bushfire Information Line number – 1800 240 667 – into your mobile phone. Make sure your mobile phone has a fully charged battery

 

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