Matt, Sophie and Jackson Butcher enjoy sunny autumn weather but a lack of rain means fire restrictions are still in place. Photo: Brendan McCarthy

FIRE authorities are warning Country Fire Authority district 2 residents not to assume summer fire restrictions are over if they see smoke.

The CFA may issue some permits to burn off fine fuel before restrictions are formally lifted.

CFA duty officer Andy Waterson said the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning was also planning burns during autumn.

But fuel dryness in the district covering City of Greater Bendigo, Macedon Ranges, Mt Alexander and Central Goldfields shires meant restrictions remained in force.

“We have to be confident that the fire risk is acceptable for us to lift restrictions,” Mr Waterson said.

“We are certainly heading in the right direction.”

But as it stood, conditions remained unacceptably dry and late summer fires which had impacted communities in Victoria and New South Wales had shown the risk was still present.

Planned DEWLP burns near Maldon and Rushworth scheduled this week did not go ahead and unlikely to proceed next week because of a lack of forecast rain.

“With all burns, we work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to assess weather conditions, such as humidity, termperature and wind speed, and will only carry out burns when the conditions are suitable,” said Forest Fire Management Victoria Murray Goldfields district manager Paul Bates.

Permits to burn off fine fuels will only be issued when there is an essential need to burn, such as in broad acre cropping, during a fire danger period, said the CFA.

Meanwhile, cooler nights come with concerns fires are being lit.

“There is a zero tolerance policy for any unlawful fire during the fire danger period meaning the offenders will themselves facing court and potentially large fines and/or imprisonment,” the authority said in a statement.