Fire Danger Ratings and Total Fire Bans

Fire Danger Ratings provide information to help you decide what actions you need to take to protect yourself and others. Fire Danger Ratings feature in weather forecasts during the fire season.

West Wimmera Shire Council is in the Wimmera Fire Weather District. You should check the rating every day during summer.

Every day you should:

  • Monitor conditions and official sources for warnings.
  • If a fire starts near you, take action immediately to protect your life.
  • Do not wait for a warning.
  • Adhere to local regulations governing fire activity.
  • Ensure any industrial and agricultural activities adhere to relevant guidelines.

Total Fire Bans are declared by CFA's Chief Officer on days of heightened fire danger to reduce the risk of a fire starting. As well as the Fire Danger Rating, the Chief Officer also considers other factors such as current fires in the landscape resource commitment and increased likelihood for human and lightning induced fires when declaring Total Fire Bans. Therefore, the CFA might declare a Total Fire Ban for areas that have not reached an EXTREME Fire Danger Rating. 

Anyone who breaches a Total Fire Ban declaration is subject to heavy legal penalties including large fines and even imprisonment.

Find out what you can and can't do on days of Total Fire Ban.


Fire Danger Period restrictions

The Fire Danger Period is when the CFA restricts the use of fire in the community. This is to help prevent fires from starting.

CFA declares the Fire Danger Period in each Council at different times in the lead-up to the fire season. It depends on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other locations. Fire Danger Period restrictions remain in place until the fire danger lessens.

The Declared Fire Danger Period for West Wimmera Shire commenced on Monday 5 December 2022 and terminated on Monday 10 April 2023.

Find out what you can and can't do during the Declared Fire Danger Period.

Plan and Prepare

Bushfire survival plan

 If you live or holiday near areas that have significant bush, forest, long grass or coastal scrub, you need to have a Bushfire Survival Plan in place. For more information, visit the CFA website.

CFA Fire ready kit
Australian Red Cross

Property owners

Property owners have a responsibility to ensure they take the necessary steps to reduce bushfire risk on their property, and to reduce the risk of injury or damage to other people or property.

Property owners should be aware of their requirements under the law. If your property/dwelling falls within a Bushfire Management Overlay, planning provisions allow for a range of approved measures for bushfire protection. This includes allowances for creating defendable space (i.e. removal of vegetation under specified clearance rules).

Bushfire protection can also be achieved through other means, such as the way you site and construct your dwelling, the way adjoining land is managed and the level of access to water supply and roads.

The Bushfire Attack Level takes into consideration a number of factors including the Fire Danger Index, the slope of the land, types of surrounding vegetation and its proximity to any building.

If you are in a bushfire prone area you are required to complete the Bushfire Attack Level Assessment Report for any domestic building works. 

Think before you remove! If you are not sure about what your legal requirements are, please contact the Council’s Planning Department on or 13 99 72 

Report any fire risk concerns either on public or private property to Council on 13 WWSC or submit the online customer request form.

To report a fire hazard contact Council on 13 WWSC or submit the online customer request form

Fire Ready Guides

Are a key source of information for the community and an important tool to emphasise the shared responsibility between the community, fire services and local government.

Apsley Fire Ready Guide(PDF, 1MB)

Harrow Fire Ready Guide(PDF, 1MB)

Neighbourhood Safer Places

A Neighbourhood Safer Place (also known as a Bushfire Place of Last Resort) is a place of last resort when all other bushfire plans have failed. The safest option is always to leave early!

If you go to a Neighbourhood Safer Place you need to be completely self sufficient. Make sure you bring food and water, protective clothing, mobile phone or radio, first aid and medication, and provision for pets. You may have to be there overnight or for many hours. 

Designated Neighbourhood Safer Places in West Wimmera Shire Council are:

  • Apsley Recreation Reserve
  • Dergholm Recreation Reserve
  • Edenhope - Lake Wallace Reserve

Further information including GPS coordinates available on the Neighbourhood Safer Places website.

Planned burns and permits

Planned burns

The Department of Environment and Primary Industries conduct a number of planned burns across the municipality on the public land estate throughout the year.

Information on planned burns in your area 

Fire Permits

The Fire Permits Victoria website allows people to submit and manage fire permit applications in a more streamlined process during the fire season and on Total Fire Ban days that fall outside of the Declared Fire Danger Period. It also includes permits to burn stubble.

Essential water replacement

The Country Fire Authority Act 1958 (s30 and s32) provides powers to the Country Fire Authority and the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (formerly DELWP) to take water from any waterway or any other water supply on public and private land for fire fighting purposes. 

The Essential Water Replacement Scheme was put in place for the replacement of essential water used during bushfire operations by Victoria’s fire agencies.  

In the event of fire, regardless of where it starts, if water needed for essential use is taken from domestic tanks and stock or irrigation dams for fire fighting purposes, it will be replaced (same quantity as taken) when requested by the Landholder.   

Essential water is defined as water required to sustain:

  • The health of affected residents and pets
  • The health and productivity of their stock
  • Agricultural and horticultural crops, permanent plantings and intensive industries.

If you believe essential water needs replacing on your property, please submit an essential water replacement claim form Essential water replacement form(DOCX, 52KB) or visit the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action website.