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Having a fire plan and preparing your property now could save your life.

During an emergency such as a bushfire, it is hard to think clearly. You may forget important things or waste valuable time deciding where to go.

There are some simple steps you can take to get ready now:

  • learn about what Fire Danger Ratings mean and check them every day during the fire season
  • make your fire plan and talk with your family about what you will do. Just as every family or household is unique, every plan will be different
  • if you live in a regional area at risk of bushfires or grassfires, be prepared to leave early on very high-risk days or if a fire starts. It is the safest option.

Fire Danger Ratings

The Fire Danger Rating is a scale that tells you how dangerous and unpredictable a fire will be if one starts.

It is determined by:

  • weather data from the Bureau of Meteorology
  • other environmental conditions such as fuel load

Fires can start on any day with any rating. On high danger-rated days, fire is more likely to be unpredictable and difficult for emergency services to control.

You need to know rating in your area.

Victoria has nine weather districts based on council boundaries:

  • Mallee
  • Wimmera
  • South West
  • Northern Country
  • North Central
  • Central
  • North East
  • West and South Gippsland
  • East Gippsland
graphic map of Victoria demonstrating the different fire districts and the Fire Danger Rantings

Each district is given its own rating for each day over the Fire Danger Period (during the warmer months). Ratings are forecast up to four days in advance and updated daily. Find your fire district on the CFA's website

You can also find important information about plans for dealing with bushfire in your community in the CFA's Community Information Guides

Learn more about each of the ratings

How to plan for bushfires and grassfires

What does Leave Early mean?

If you live in a regional area at risk of bushfire and grass fires, we recommend to always leave the night before or morning of an Extreme or Code Red (Fire Danger Rating) day.

These days are rare – in the summer of 2018-19 Victoria had 2 Extreme days and no Code Red. They are rated high risk because of:

  • the heat
  • how dry the area is
  • how much dry vegetation there is (for example if there is dry forest, long grass, thick bush)
  • the wind

The worse these conditions are, the more difficult it is for emergency services to control fire. If the fire is unpredictable and uncontrollable, you do not want to be anywhere near it. Leave early.

Fires can start at any rating. Watch the conditions and check warnings so you know what to do if a fire starts.

You can:

  • download the VicEmergency App from the App Store or Google Play
  • add your location preferences (for example your home or other family member's homes)
  • set up notifications to be alerted of Fire Danger Ratings and emergency warnings

Total Fire Ban Days

Total Fire Ban Days are different to Fire Danger Ratings:

  • A Fire Danger Rating tells you how a fire is likely to behave if it starts. It gives you information to help you decide how you should put your fire plan into action.
  • A Total Fire Ban tells you if it is legal to do certain activities that may start fires.

Total Fire Bans are declared by CFA on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control. This sets legal restrictions on what activities can or cannot occur in a district for that day.

The purpose of a Total Fire Ban is to reduce the activities that may start a fire such as outdoor BBQs and campfires.

You can find out more about what you can and cannot do on Total Fire Ban days on the CFA website.

Reviewed 15 November 2019

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