The new publication will also reflect recent changes to the CFA Act on 16 May, which include:
- The requirement of having a person present at all times while a fire is alight has been bolstered to include them having the capacity and means to extinguish it; and on days of Total Fire Ban this must be an adult
- The clearance area around a BBQ and any other fire that is alight has been clarified to state that the ground and air space within 3 metres are clear of flammable material from the outer perimeter and the upper most point of the fire
- There is no longer the requirement that the fire is not within 7.5 metres of a log or stump. This has been removed
- An organisation involved in fundraising can apply for a permit to have a BBQ on a Total Fire Ban day
- Activities such as welding, gas-cutting, soldering, grinding, charring, and heating bitumen are prohibited during Total Fire Ban days without special permits that apply to these days, called section 40 permits
- Section 40 permits can now be sought for religious and cultural reasons on Total Fire Ban days
- The restriction on the use of a gas or electric fired portable BBQ on a Total Fire Ban day to within 20 metres of a dwelling has been removed.
CFA Manager Community Resilience Gwynne Brennan urges all CFA members to get familiar with the new Can I or Can’t I publication when it comes out.
“Some of these changes to the CFA Act will have a significant effect for Victorians this summer, such as the removal of restrictions around barbecues being within 20 metres of a dwelling.”
“This means that people with a caravan or a tent or any other mobile home can now use a portable gas or electric barbecue on a Total Fire Ban day, providing they meet all the other legislative requirements.
“It’s now easier for community groups to get a BBQ permit on a Total Fire Ban day. While permits were previously only available to charity organisations, they’re now available to other community organisations such as sporting clubs.
The changes also tighten up some aspects of Total Fire Ban rules.
“In the past we’ve required that an adult be in charge of an outdoor fire at all times – but the Act now specifies that the adult in charge be physically and mentally capable of extinguishing it.
“Penalties have also been increased – you can be fined close to $30,000 if your fire gets out of control and starts a bushfire on a TFB day. You could even get up to 15 years imprisonment,” Gwynne said.
The new Can I or Can’t I? publication will be sent to district offices from 13 August and any out-of-date brochures will need to be disposed of in recycling bins.
The latest version of the CFA Act can be accessed by searching for ‘Country Fire Authority Act 1958’ under the Victorian Law Today section at www.legislation.vic.gov.au.
More information about updates to the CFA Act will be provided on CFA Connect at a later date.