An alarming number of Victorians living in high-risk bushfire areas say they would stay at their properties until they felt threatened by a bushfire or would wait for an official warning, a CFA survey revealed. CFA's annual Bushfire Community Survey, undertaken since 2009-10, showed that 30.9% would wait for emergency authorities to tell them what to do, 28.6% would stay until they felt threatened, and 13.8% would stay and defend their property. SPORT: Popular Dunkeld race meeting capped for patrons Victoria has experienced many damaging fire seasons in recent memory, such as the February 2009 bushfires and the 2019-20 fires. With the prediction of a warmer spring and an earlier start to this year's season, CFA is concerned that not enough people are preparing themselves for fire season and heeding CFA's advice. CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said it's concerning to know around half of all Victorians in high-risk bushfire areas are risking their lives if a bushfire were to occur. "Victoria has had quieter fire seasons the last few years but now is not the time for the community to become complacent," CO Heffernan said. "And while our firefighters are always well prepared and your safety during fire season is a shared responsibility, so it's vital that you understand your local risks and take actions to prepare your family and property. "We've seen in the recent release of the spring seasonal outlook that weather patterns are changing, and we're expecting warmer and drier conditions across the state leading up to summer. "Fires spread quickly and they threaten lives and properties. The community needs to be prepared and they need to know their triggers to act. Please don't rely on one source of information, utilise the multiple channels available to you. Use common sense and protect yourself and your loved ones." MUST READ: Dingo advocate urging better protection for iconic Aussie animal The AFAC Seasonal Bushfire Outlook for Spring, released on August 23, outlined that fire risk in the coming months is expected to be normal across most parts of Victoria. The predicted development of an El Nino weather pattern will contribute to higher fire risk in some parts of Victoria this season compared to the last three years. "Now is the time to sit down with your family or household and make sure you have a bushfire survival plan. Practice this plan and be ready," CO Heffernan said. "On hot, dry and windy days, don't drive into or through high-risk areas. "Plan an alternate route or postpone your travel if possible. Continue to monitor conditions every day." The survey also showed that 44.4% believe CFA is responsible for protecting them during a bushfire, and 43.8% say CFA is responsible for protecting their home. "We simply can't get a truck to every house during a major bushfire," CO Heffernan said. "Fire safety is a joint effort and the community need to also take on this responsibility when living in a bushfire prone area. "Our promise is to continue with our mission to protect lives and property and we are lucky to have some of the best firefighters in the world to do this." Victorians should know where to find the best information to stay safe and never rely on just one source of information. Victoria's integrated warning system includes the Vic Emergency website, app and social media channels, VicEmergency Hotline 1800 226 226, emergency broadcasters including ABC radio, Sky News TV, commercial radio and select community radio stations. Warnings are issued when an incident is occurring, and you need to act. Make sure you understand the three levels of warnings and additional messages, such as 'Evacuate Now': Advice: An incident is occurring or has occurred. Access information and monitor conditions. Watch &amp; Act: An emergency is developing nearby. Conditions are changing, and you need to act now to protect yourself and your family. Emergency Warning: You are in imminent danger and need to act now. Evacuation: An evacuation is recommended or procedures are in place to evacuate. The CFA asks the community to take the following actions: Authorities in the Wimmera and Grampians regions have already declared the start of the Fire Danger Period for the 2023-34 fire season. From Monday, November 6, 2023, to Wednesday, May 1, 2024, restrictions will be in place in the Horsham, West Wimmera, Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack and Northern Grampians municipalities. At the time of print, no date is set for the Ararat Rural City Council. A written permit is required to burn off grass, undergrowth, weeds or other vegetation during the FDP. You can apply for a permit at firepermits.vic.gov.au. Lighting fires in the open without a permit can bring a penalty of more than $21,800 and/or 12 months imprisonment. For a full list of conditions, visit cfa.vic.gov.au/can. Farmers can find legal guidelines and practical advice at cfa.vic.gov.au/farms. More information about FDPs is available online at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/firedangerperiod.