No burnoffs allowed as district dries out

The Country Fire Authority and Colac Otway Shire Council have withdrawn from issuing any burnoff permits. Pictured is the CFA’s Byron Kershaw.

Weather conditions and a host of recent out-of-control burnoffs have prompted the Country Fire Authority and Colac Otway Shire Council to stop issuing burnoff permits.

Elliminyt resident Terry Fletcher prompted the Herald to begin inquiring into the withdrawal of fire permits after Mr Fletcher said he submitted a permit to the council on November 19 to burn a pile of “storm damage and leaf stuff”, before the council informed him 10 days later that authorities weren’t issuing permits.

Fire restrictions have been in force in the shire since November 19, meaning fires cannot be lit in the open air.

In a joint statement, the CFA and the council said that underlying rainfall deficits, windy conditions and recent out-of-control burnoffs had prompted authorities not to issue permits to burn green waste.

The statement said previously extinguished burnoffs which were lit legally had reignited and caused damage to property, which indicated to the CFA that it should no longer issue permits until the fire danger had passed.

The statement acknowledged that there could be exemptions during fire restrictions for cooking, or if people received a permit from the CFA or the council, but CFA district six operations officer Byron Kershaw that both CFA and the council had withdrawn from issuing any permits.

Mr Fletcher raised concerns that the five days’ notice before the fire danger period started, and the dangerous fire weather the weekend before restrictions started, meant people like him hadn’t been able to burn their piles.

See Today’s Colac Herald for more.

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