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What Exactly Does ‘Catastrophic Fire Danger’ Mean?

You don’t have to live in the bush to be threatened by bushfires. Burning material, embers and smoke can carry danger to you. Everyone has a part to play in bushfire prevention and it is important to be aware of what each fire danger rating means and what you should do.

What are Fire Danger Ratings

victoria fire danger rating

The Fire Danger Rating predicts how a fire would behave if one started, including how difficult it would be to put out. The higher the rating, the more dangerous the conditions.

The rating is your guide on how to act, so to stay safe you need to stay aware of the Fire Danger Rating in your district. You can check your region’s Fire Danger Rating here.

Low-Moderate/High/Very High Fire Danger Rating

If a fire starts, it can most likely be controlled in these conditions and homes can provide safety. You should be aware of how fires can start and minimise the risk. Controlled burning off may occur in these conditions if it is safe.

What does it mean?

  • If a fire starts, it can most likely be controlled in these conditions and homes can provide safety.
  • Be aware of how fires can start and minimise the risk.
  • Controlled burning off may occur in these conditions if it is safe – check to see if permits apply.

Severe Fire Danger Rating

Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety in areas with a severe fire danger rating.

If you are not prepared, leaving bushfire prone areas early in the day is your safest option.

What does it mean?

  • Expect hot, dry and windy conditions.
  • If a fire starts and takes hold, it may be uncontrollable.
  • Well prepared homes that are actively defended can provide safety.
  • You must be physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions.

Extreme Fire Danger Rating

Consider staying with your property only if you are prepared to the highest level. This means your home needs to be situated and constructed or modified to withstand a bushfire, you are well prepared and you can actively defend your home if a fire starts.

If you aren’t prepared to the highest level, leaving high-risk bushfire areas early in the day is your safest option.

What does it mean?

  • Expect extremely hot, dry and windy conditions.
  • If a fire starts and takes hold, it will be uncontrollable, unpredictable and fast-moving. Spot fires will start, move quickly and come from many directions.
  • Homes that are situated and constructed or modified to withstand a bushfire, that are well prepared and actively defended may provide safety.
  • You must be physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions.

Catastrophic Fire Danger Rating

In these conditions, loss of life is expected if people are in the area. Leaving high-risk bushfire areas the night before or early in the day is your safest option – do not wait and see.

  • Avoid forested areas, thick bush or long, dry grass
  • Know your trigger – make a decision about:
    • When you will leave
    • Where you will go
    • How you will get there
    • When you will return
    • What will you do if you cannot leave

What does it mean?

  • These are the worst conditions for a bush or grass fire.
  • Homes are not designed or constructed to withstand fires in these conditions.
  • The safest place to be is away from high-risk bushfire areas.

Be aware of local conditions and seek information by listening to your emergency broadcasters, go to cfa.vic.gov.au or call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226.

Victorian residents can stay up to date on the latest developments in any of the following ways:

If you’re a home or building owner, looking for more information about protecting your property from fire, contact Ashes Fire Group on 1300 646 860 or email ashesfiregroup@gmail.com.