The warmer months are the perfect time to experience regional Victoria. However, Victoria is fire-prone. If you are hiking or camping between November to April in an area that is heavily forested, has thick bush or long, dry grass, or coastal areas with lots of plant life – you are at risk of fire. Follow these bushfire safety tips to ensure that your experience is safe and enjoyable.
Where can I get information during a fire?
- Listen to your local emergency broadcaster for fire updates. Have a battery powered radio in case power fails
- For online information about current fires always refer directly to www.emergency.vic.gov.au
- For specific queries call the VicEmergency Hotline – 1800 226 226
What if I am travelling through, or visiting, bushfire risk areas?
- Avoid bushfire situations, where possible. If in doubt, U-turn to safety. Fire safety information is available about travelling through, or visiting, areas that may be affected by bushfires.
- If it is a hot, dry, windy day, or it is a Total Fire Ban, plan your trip carefully. Avoid high bushfire risk areas at these times, especially if walking.
- If you see a bushfire when driving or bushwalking, turn around and go back, if possible.
- Report a new fire by telephoning Triple Zero (000) to contact the emergency services.
- Exercise caution when driving, due to possible smoke and other hazards such as fire vehicles on roads - even if even some distance away from a fire.
- Always follow the guidelines for campfire safety - don't accidentally start a bushfire.
- Hiking and camping in parks and forests - bushfire safety tips
Checklist before you travel
- Check forecast weather conditions
- Check Fire Danger Ratings for your route and your destination
- Check for any current fire activity in areas you will be visiting at www.emergency.vic.gov.au
- Check the latest conditions and park closures
- Review your plans - identify the safest route and possible bushfire refuges
- Be prepared to change your plans on days of Severe, Extreme or Code Red (catastrophic) Fire Danger Ratings
- Tell someone where you are going and when
- Take a portable AM/FM radio and mobile phone
- Check woollen blankets and drinking water are in the car
- Check for fire restrictions and Total Fire Bans
While you are away
- Check for any current fire activity by listening to ABC Local Radio or other emergency broadcasters
- Do not expect an official bushfire warning
- Stay alert for bushfire smoke or flames
- Do not let your actions result in a bushfire - extinguish cigarettes and campfires completely
If there is a bushfire
Protect yourself from heat and flames
- Stay calm - do not panic
- If your are unsure if it is a bushfire, call the VicEmergency Hotline – 1800 226 226
- Listen to ABC Local Radio or other emergency broadcasters for updates
- Report new fires by calling 000
- Late evacuation can be deadly
If you get caught in a fire
In the car:
- If you can, U-turn to safety and leave the area
- Do not get out and run - stay in the vehicle
- Park in a large clear area, away from trees and long grass
- Turn on headlights and hazards lights
- Close windows and vents. Get below window level
- Cover exposed skin with a dry woollen blanket
- Wear dry, natural fibre clothing
- When the fire has passed, get out of the car
- See refuge behind a rocky outcrop or high wall, in cave, gully or large animal burrow, in a large clear area away from trees and grass or in large dam or lake
- Avoid slopes and hill tops - avoid being above a fire
- Do not seek refuge in above ground tanks or above ground pools
- Cover exposed skin with dry natural fibre clothing
Where can I get further information?
- Current fires on www.emergency.vic.gov.au
- Call the VicEmergency Hotline – 1800 226 226. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech impairment you can call through the National Relay Service.
- CFA's website - detailed bushfire safety information
- EPA's Bushfires and Air Quality - assessing and monitoring air quality, self-assessment and how to protect yourself
- DHS Better Health - search the website for Bushfire safety to access information from bushfire smoke and potential hazards after a bushfire, to bushfires and water tanks and air pollution.