Stay aware of the Fire Danger Rating and know what to do.
The Fire Danger Rating predicts how a fire would behave if one started, including how difficult it would be to put out. The higher the rating, the more dangerous the conditions. The rating is your trigger to act, so to stay safe you need to stay aware of the Fire Danger Rating in your district. During the fire season, the Fire Danger Rating will feature in news and weather updates. To keep informed tune into your emergency broadcasters: ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or watch SKY News TV. Information can also be found on the websites of the CFA, Department of Sustainability and Environment and Bureau of Meteorology or by calling the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667
Safety in the car
Be aware of local conditions and seek information by listening to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations or watching SKY News TV, go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VBIL on 1800 240 667 or TTY 1800 122 969.
Cars are a very dangerous place to be during a bushfire as they offer very little protection from radiant heat. If you get caught on the road, this is a very dangerous situation.
You may also get an alert sent to your mobile phone or landline based on its billing address.
VERY HIGH HIGH
There are three types of alert messages:
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
These are the worst conditions for a bush or grass fire.
Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand fires in these conditions.
The safest place to be is away from high risk bushfire areas.
Expect extremely hot, dry and windy conditions.
If a fire starts and takes hold, it will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast moving. Spot fires will start, move quickly and come from many directions.
Homes that are situated and constructed or modified to withstand a bushfire, that are well prepared and actively defended, may provide safety.
You must be physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions.
Expect hot, dry and possibly windy conditions.
If a fire starts and takes hold, it may be uncontrollable.
Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety.
You must be physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions.
If a fire starts, it can most likely be controlled in these conditions and homes can provide safety.
Be aware of how fires can start and minimise the risk.
Controlled burning off may occur in these conditions if it is safe – check to see if permits apply.
240 667 www.cfa.vic.gov.au
For more information contact: 1800
Advice – a fire has started – there is no immediate danger; general information to keep you up-to-date with developments. Watch and act – a fire is approaching you, conditions are changing; you need to start taking action now to protect your life and your family. Emergency warning – you are in danger and need to take action immediately. You will be impacted by fire. This message will usually be preceded by an emergency warning signal broadcast over the radio.
To increase your protection from radiant heat if caught in your car: Park behind a solid structure to block as much heat as you can. If this is not possible, pull over to the side of the road into a clear area well away from debris that may ignite Wind up your car windows, close the vents, put on your hazard lights and headlights, leave the engine running and air conditioning on recirculation
Cover up with a woollen blanket until the firefront passes. If you have water, drink it
Get out of the car once the fire has gone.
If you live or holiday in a high risk bushfire area, the safest option is to leave early on days of high fire risk. Identify a place where you will go to on these days – for example, regional urban areas or larger towns
Bushfires produce enormous amounts of radiant heat. Radiant heat is the same warmth you feel from a campfire or the flame from a stovetop gas cooker, but could be up to 50,000 times more intense in a major bushfire
Decide now what you are going to do on fire risk days – it could save your life. Decide when you will leave, where you will go, how you will get there, when you will return, what you will do if you cannot leave
Without protection, intense radiant heat can kill you very quickly – the human body cannot absorb large amounts of radiant heat
Keep a map of the local area. You can look at the map to see where fire is. If you are travelling through Victoria, you need to monitor conditions. Reconsider visiting high risk bushfire areas on fire risk days.
On Code Red days, the safest option is to leave high risk bushfire areas the night before or early in the day – do not wait and see
WHAT SHOULD I DO?
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• Be aware of local conditions and seek information by listening to ABC Local Radio, commercial radio stations or Sky News TV, go to cfa.vic. gov.au or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667
• Check your bushfire survival guide
• Monitor conditions
• Action may be needed
• Leave if necessary
Do not wait for a fire warning. Bushfires can start with no warning.
On Extreme days, only consider staying with your property if you are prepared to the highest level – your home needs to be situated and constructed (or modified) to withstand a bushfire. You also need to be well prepared and able to actively defend your home if a fire starts Being caught on the road is dangerous
This is only a brief overview of bushfire survival. CFA has produced the FireReady Kit to help you understand your bushfire risk, prepare your property and develop a Bushfire Survival Plan. Obtain a copy of the CFA FireReady Kit by downloading it from www.cfa.vic.gov.au or phoning the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 or TTY 1800 122 969 to have a copy sent to you in the mail.
For more information please visit the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au or phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world. Planning ahead can save you and your family from being killed by fire. If you live, work or travel in Victoria this summer, you may be at risk of bushfire. This guide is a brief explanation of how you can protect yourself and your family.
Get down as low as possible below window level
A warning might not say your town or suburb name. Listen for fire warnings about towns or suburbs near you.
While CFA will do its best to provide official warnings, you should not wait to receive a warning to leave. Bushfires can threaten lives and homes within minutes. Just because you don’t receive a warning, does not mean there isn’t a threat. Do not expect a firetruck.
BUSHFIRE SURVIVAL GUIDE
On Severe days, well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety
The best protection from radiant heat is distance Radiant heat can be blocked by a solid object, such as a concrete wall or building, which creates a barrier between you and the bushfire Wearing protective clothing to cover exposed skin will only protect you from very low levels of radiant heat Protective clothing includes a long-sleeved shirt and pants made from cotton or other natural fibre, sturdy boots, wide-brimmed hat, leather gloves and face mask.
To help determine your risk, use the Household Bushfire Self Assessment Tool, or request a free site visit at www.cfa.vic.gov.au. Obtain a hardcopy from the Victorian Bushfire Information Line 1800 240 667 or TTY 1800 122 969 Whatever your decision, you must have a written and practised Bushfire Survival Plan – ensure every member of your household understands it. Learn more about developing your plan by obtaining the CFA FireReady Kit.
Keep gutters clear of leaf litter.
Replace damaged roofing and seal gaps. Cut back overhanging branches.
Place metal flyscreens or window shutters over windows.
Preparing your property
Everyone in Victoria who lives near bush, grassland or the coast needs to prepare their property for bushfire. Regardless of whether you plan to leave early before bushfire threatens or want to stay to actively defend, you need to prepare your property.
For a 10 metre space around the house:
A well-prepared house with adequate defendable space has a greater chance of surviving a bushfire. Property preparation can help to reduce a bushfire’s intensity and the impact it will have on your house. In order to prepare your property for bushfire you will have to consider: 1. If you have adequate defendable space and how you will manage the vegetation.
Fine plant based mulch can catch fire. Use alternatives such as pebbles or rocks.
Store woodpiles away from the house.
Store flammable liquids well away from the house.
Rake up and remove fine fuels such as dry grass, leaves, twigs and loose bark.
BUSHFIRE SURVIVAL GUIDE
Remove flammable items from decks and verandahs such as boxes, furniture, doormats and dog kennels. LPG cyclinders – face vent pipe away from house and securely store in an upright position.
Shrubs must be less than one metre Do not have shrubs next to or under windows Grass should be less than 10 centimetres high Do not have tree branches.
The 10/30 right and fence line clearing Under the 10/30 right, a planning permit may not be required to make bushfire preparations around your home if you own your property and live outside the metropolitan area. (Please check with your local council for details.)
2. How your house is best maintained and what improvements can be made.
The 10/30 right, where it applies, allows you to:
Complete the Household Bushfire Self Assessment Tool to determine the defendable space requirements for your property or request a free CFA site visit. To obtain a hardcopy version of the tool or book a site visit, contact the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 or go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au to complete this assessment online.
Remove any vegetation except trees within 30 metres
The illustration (left) provides an overview of the key preparation activities you can undertake before the bushfire season.
Vegetation management House maintenance and improvements
Remove any vegetation within 10 metres
Remove any vegetation for a combined maximum width of four metres either side of boundary fences. (Written permission from the landowner for clearance on their side of the fence is required.)
Manage the vegetation up to 100 metres from your house as a minimum. For example; Take out half the shrubs Keep grass short
Total Fire Bans Total Fire Bans are declared by CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control. On days of Total Fire Ban there are legal restrictions in force to reduce the likelihood of bushfires starting. Total Fire Bans may be declared in some districts but not in others and may be declared at different Fire Danger Ratings.
Keep grass cut.
Make space between plants and trees. Keep in mind that mature trees can help shield against radiant heat and embers and play a useful role in the protection of your home against bushfires.
CFA's Bushfire Survival Guide in English