Reconsider burn-off plans

CHARRED: Firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze at Cannie on Friday afternoon.

CHARRED: Firefighters worked to extinguish a blaze at Cannie on Friday afternoon.

THE Country Fire Authority issued an urgent alert to farmers to reconsider burning-off operations after a number of burn-offs escaped due to winds picking up throughout the afternoon on Friday.

One of the largest fires burnt through about 100 hectares of grass, stubble and stands of Mallee trees on a property in the Cannie farming area, about 10 kilometres north-east of Quambatook. 

Ten tanker crews took an hour and 20 minutes to control the Cannie fire and it was another 45 minutes before it was declared safe.

A number of other fires were reported throughout northern Victoria as variable winds increased in intensity. 

Operations staff at the CFA's District 20 office at Kerang issued an urgent warning late on Friday afternoon, urging those farmers planning to burn to reconsider after the Bureau of Meteorology released a Severe Weather Warning for up to 100-kilometre per hour winds in some areas across the weekend.

CFA District 20 Rostered Duty Officer Mick Masters said that it was strongly advised to reconsider when planning to burn if strong winds occur. 

"Wind speeds were expected to be severe on Saturday with little or no rain accompanying the wind change," he said. 

"With CFA crews already responding to numerous escaped burn-offs that have got away as result of people under-estimating how dry the fuels are and how quickly fire can get out of control, we are asking that people do not light up unless conditions are safe to do so."

Although Fire Restrictions have been lifted for the Gannawarra, Loddon and Campaspe shires, people planning to burn need to ensure they not only check the current weather conditions but also for the coming days.

For more information on burning off, please visit https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/burning-off.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast areas of raised dust in the late morning and afternoon on Saturday with winds west to north-westerly 35 to 50 kilometres per hour and westerly 25 to 40-kilometre per hour winds on Sunday.

The maximum temperature recorded at Kerang on Wednesday was 39.1 degrees, which was 2.1 degrees hotter that the previous high recorded in 2005. The minimum temperature on Wednesday night was 24.2 degrees, which was also 2.1 degrees higher than the previous record, which was also in 2005.

Temperatures are expected to climb back to the high 20s late this week.

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