A MAN accused of lighting two fires in Nanneella on Saturday has been arrested.
The 49-year-old Kyabram man has been charged with eight arson-related offences, including criminal damage by fire, lighting a fire to destroy property, lighting a fire endangering property and lighting a fire in open air without authority.
He has been bailed to appear at Echuca Magistrates’ Court on January 16.
CFA District 20 operations manager Peter Taylor said Rochester and Kyabram brigades attended the first fire on the side of the road at Doherty Road about 9.30pm.
They were then called to another scrub fire at Thornton Rd about 10.45pm.
‘‘The volunteers were probably out for an hour and a half,’’ he said.
Although the fires were only small and posed to no danger to property, Mr Taylor said there was still concern because of high fuel loads.
‘‘We’re getting to the dry end of the season and if someone is deliberately setting fires, it’s putting lives and property at risk,’’ he said.
Friday will mark the start of the fire danger period for Campaspe Shire, which is expected to run until May.
The restrictions mean you cannot light a fire in the open air unless you have a permit or comply with certain requirements.
‘‘People need to be aware the restrictions are in place for a reason,’’ Mr Taylor said.
‘‘We do this for safety. People need to understand fires are very dangerous and can cause a lot of panic and danger.’’
He urged people to be vigilant in the lead up to Friday, particularly if they are planning to burn off.
‘‘Wind can spread fires and a small burn off can easily get out of control,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of the areas along the Murray and Campaspe are overgrown so be careful in that environment.
‘‘We want everyone to enjoy the summer period and the opportunities that gives, but as long as everyone follows the rules and puts their safety first.’’
To find out what you can and can’t do during the fire danger period, go to www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can