SPRING rain has failed to delay the early start of fire restrictions in District 02 which includes Bendigo.

The Country Fire Authority has declared the fire danger period will start from 1am on Monday, at the same time in the Campaspe and Loddon shire council areas.

The monitoring station at Bendigo Airport recorded 21.6mm of rain that fell over three days this week.

But it was rain that failed to fall in winter and a forecast dry start to summer that has forced the CFA’s hand.

“Low winter rainfall across the North West means the grass and bush are dry and the fire potential is further increased by Bureau of Meteorology forecasts that the next three months will be drier and warmer than average,” CFA operations manager Chris Jacobsen said.

At a pre-summer bushfire preparation briefing two weeks ago, acting operations manager Bill Johnstone predicted the fire danger period in this district could start in early November.

The CFA has since revised its timing.

“At the moment, Bendigo sits at just over half of its expected rainfall for the year to date,” Mr Jacobsen said.

Emergency responders have warned that fuel loads including in local forests, are already dry.

The early start to the period means householders will have only this weekend to clean up properties, and burn off.

“While CFA and its partner agencies Parks Victoria, Forest Fire Management, DELWP and Emergency 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 fo preventing fires,” he said.

For information about burn-off restrictions in township areas, consult your local council.

But any fires started during the fire danger period are likely to be investigated by the CFA and Victoria Police.

As fire restrictions begin, local CFA brigades hold open days to offer their own information to residents.

In Bendigo, the Eaglehawk brigade will be open to the public from 10am to 2pm tomorrow.

On November 25, the brigades at Golden Square and Maiden Gully will be open during similar times.