The Country Fire Authority has declared the Fire Danger Period for Ararat Rural City will begin at 1am on Monday, December 14.
CFA District 16 assistant chief fire officer Bernie Fradd said they had a zero-tolerance approach to any fires caused by negligent behaviour, once the Fire Danger Period comes into effect.
"Expect any escaped or uncontrolled fire you start to be investigated by CFA and Victoria Police," he said.
Mr Fradd said the recent good rains had generated abundant growth in grasslands and crop.
"Once these fully dry out the potential for significant fires in the local area cannot be underestimated," he said.
"There is still time to ensure homes and properties are well prepared. Mowing or slashing grasslands and clearing undergrowth can all be still done safely, and I urge residents to use the next few weeks to undertake this important work.
IN OTHER NEWS:
"It is also very important to check any burn-offs that have been done over winter to ensure they are fully extinguished.
"This means raking over the ash and coals to ensure there are no hot spots or smouldering logs or roots, as it is not uncommon for large piles and burn offs to continue burning unnoticed for months only to escape when we have hot, dry and windy conditions later in the year.
"While CFA and our partner agencies Fire Rescue Victoria and Forest Fire Management Victoria are doing everything we can to prepare for the bushfire season, we look to the community to use common sense and take responsibility for preventing fires."
The latest Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Victoria, released on November 26, identified due to significant grass growth, 2020/21 has the potential to be more of a grassfire-dominated season.
It indicates that Victoria is likely to experience a less severe bushfire season this summer compared to last summer - particularly in the east of the state.
The outlook is due to average to above average rainfall during spring, combined with an outlook of above average rainfall for much of Victoria from December to February, particularly across the northern parts and mountain regions, due to the influence of La Nia.
MORE NEWS: Online fire permit system goes live
Considering the outlook and current conditions, the fire season has the potential to be a grassfire-dominated season, with shorter-duration fires in grass and dry forests during hotter and windier days.
Mr Fradd said people need to be aware that if using fire to clean up around their properties they need to register these on 1800 668 511.
"So far this year, out-of-control burn-offs and unregistered burn-offs have already caused unnecessary callouts to brigades," he said.
"You should not burn-off when winds are high or high winds are forecast - not only on the day of your burn but for the days afterwards.
"For information about burn-off restrictions specific to your area, consult your local council."
CFA can issue permits for certain circumstances during the FDP. There are very strict conditions attached to these permits and the liability sits with the permit holder to ensure they always act safely.
During the FDP fires cannot be lit in the open air without a written permit from CFA or a municipal fire prevention officer. FDPs are based on local conditions and take into account fuel moisture, fuel loads, grassland curing, weather and rainfall.
Fire Danger Period information and restrictions are published at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/restrictions-during-the-fire-danger-period. Please note the latest restrictions will be published on this page by the Tuesday before they come into force.
Victorians can find out "Can I or Can't I?" information at cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can or by calling VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226. All burn-offs should be registered with the VicFire Burn-off notification line on 1800 668 511.
Fire Danger Period information:
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Ararat Advertiser, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ararat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from The Ararat Advertiser. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Ararat shire, sign up here.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.