THE official Fire Danger Period may have ended earlier this week, but central Victorians have been urged to remain vigilant and to be aware of ongoing burn-offs and potential health hazards of smoke exposure.

Country Fire Authority north west region acting chief officer Gavin Thompson said residents wanting to conduct burn-offs on private property need to follow some basic rules, register their burn-offs first and foremost, check weather conditions as well as monitor the wind, and follow local council laws and regulations.

Bendigo has endured its driest start to the year since 2004, with just 41.4 millimetres of rainfall records to April 30, and April 15’s 10.2mm being the wettest day of the year so far.

Mr Thompson said CFA crews are wasting resources responding to false alarms because people are not registering their burn-offs.

“If you register your burn off and somebody rings spotting smoke, the incident will be cross-checked with the burn-off register and prevent an angry CFA crew showing up on your door.

“There are few things that annoy CFA fireys more than being taken away from family, friends, work and potential emergencies over a false alarm caused by an un-registered burn-off.”

Landowners can register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) by calling 1800 668 511 or emailing burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au

Mr Thompson said that whether registering a burn-off by phone or email, people should be prepared to give some basic information including location, date, expected start and finish times, estimated size, and what they intended to burn.

“The burn off line is very easy to use – the operators are friendly, and prompt you by asking the key questions,” he said.

“When conducting burn-offs, remain alert and always have resources on hand to extinguish the fire.”

On Tuesday, Forest Fire Management Victoria and CFA conducted a fuel reduction burn involving 291 hectares about five kilometres east of Bendigo in the Bendigo Regional Park, one of several on the city’s outskirts in the past few weeks.