The Forests (Fire Protection) Regulations 2014 replaced the expired Forests (Fire Protection) Regulations 2004 on 29 June 2014. The regulations restrict activities that can cause bushfires, in particular:
- lighting of fires, including campfires, in the open air
- use of smokers by apiarists
- use of engines, including chainsaws and generators
- some activities undertaken by sawmills and other operations
The regulations apply in the fire protected area during the prohibited period.
The fire protected area comprises national parks, state forest and protected public land. It also includes some private land within 1.5 kilometres of these areas.
The prohibited period for national park, state forest and protected public land is all year round. The prohibited period for private land within the fire protected area is generally the time of year when risk of bushfire ignitions is higher – usually between November and April.
The new regulations changed the existing regulatory system by:
- removing regulations that addressed the lighting of fire in temporary structures. Enforcement officers have advised that they have no recorded examples of fire in temporary structures that is not also "open to the air." Fires which are "open to the air" are addressed by Part 2 of the 2014 regulations.
- removing the schedules which specified the date on which, in certain areas of the state, the prohibited period would begin. This results in those areas being subject to the state-wide declaration of the prohibited period. This allows flexibility for when the prohibited period starts and finishes in those areas and allows it to be determined on a year-by-year basis as a result of that year's particular fire risk.
Infringement penalties for offences against regulations 16, 17 and 18 have also been introduced through amendment of the Conservation, Forests and Lands (Infringement Notice) Regulations. These address the use of engines and welding, grinding, soldering and gas cutting equipment and allow for infringements against these regulations to be subject to on-the-spot fines rather than requiring court appearances.
The 2014 regulations are provided below:
These regulations can also be found on the Victorian legislation website.