Whittlesea and Hume residents are being warned about the risk of grassfires this summer as dry conditions increase the likelihood of fires.

Fire restrictions came into place in Whittlesea and Hume yesterday, meaning a permit is now required to burn-off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation, and to light a fire in the open.

The restrictions cover suburbs in the CFA district, such as Craigieburn, Greenvale, Mickleham, Mernda, South Morang, Epping, Wollert and Whittlesea.

A seasonal outlook released by the Bushfire Co-Operative Research Centre late last month predicts an above average fire season for Victoria.

“The background conditions of dryness and the likelihood of above average maximum temperatures this summer places Victoria in a vulnerable position,” the outlook stated.

CFA district 14 operations manager Trevor Roberts said now was the time for Whittlesea and Hume residents to prepare for the fire season.

“It is important to undertake mitigation work, including slashing, grading and general property clean-ups before the fire danger ratings increase,” he said. “Any burning-off requires thorough planning, ensuring there are enough people to monitor, contain and extinguish the burn safely and effectively.”

Mr Roberts said the CFA had zero tolerance to any unauthorised fire or fires resulting from negligent behaviour.

“A fire started at any time of the year which damages someone else’s property is a crime,” he said.

Whittlesea council has begun its annual fire inspection program to ensure properties in the urban area are prepared for the fire season.

The council requires grass and weeds on all properties, including those that are vacant, to be no more than 10 centimetres high.

Mayor Kris Pavlidis said it was important everyone did their part.