Fire alert: CFA alarm at reckless behaviour as risk soars

THE CFA has again moved to reinforce the fire safety message after reports of a number of people conducting illegal activities, resulting in a high risk of fire.

And with tomorrow looming as a day of extreme fire danger, CFA Grampians regional manager Don Kelly said it was unlikely Ballarat would have the same access to firefighting equipment that was available for Monday’s Trawalla fire.

Mr Kelly said there was still a number of people who remained ignorant of total fire bans, which had been in place across Victoria for much of the week.

One reader of The Courier sent in a photo of an unattended bonfire in the Daylesford region yesterday.

Mr Kelly said there were also many instances where people continued to engage in “reckless” activities, without deliberately starting fires.

The Trawalla fire, which burnt about 180 hectares, is believed to have been started by farm machinery.

“Some people have either been ignorant by using this dangerous machinery in these conditions, or simply refusing to listen to the safety message,” Mr Kelly said.

“We call these incidents reckless more than accidental; they can be avoided.”

Today and tomorrow are forecast to hit 41 and 40 degrees, but it is Friday that has authorities most worried, in what will be the final day of the heatwave.

High winds are expected to hit Ballarat tomorrow afternoon, as the cool change sweeps through.

Mr Kelly said people needed to be on highest alert on what could prove to be a day of extreme danger.

“We’ve been very lucky with our fires so far this year to have had such great access to firefighting aircraft,” he said.

“On Monday there were eight aircraft at Trawalla, but it is unlikely there will be that many on Friday.

“They have to be shared across the state and will go to wherever lives are most endangered.

“Once fires start in these conditions, they are almost impossible to contain.”

Today has been declared a day of total fire ban.

For information about what you can and cannot do on a day of total fire ban, see the CFA website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au

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