Plan for fires now
Authorities warn of potentially harsh danger period ahead
THE Bureau of Meteor- ology ( BOM), Strathbogie Shire and CFA have all issued warnings to residents to begin their preparations for bushfire season 2017/ 18 before it’s too late.
Despite the cool and damp conditions the district has been experiencing of late, summer and the bushfire season will soon be upon us.
Given the prediction of good spring growing conditions and expectations of a drier than average end to the year, it’s shaping up to be a potentially early, and nasty one.
The BOM is predicting both drier and hotter conditions than average in the coming months, a dangerous combination when assessing fire risk.
The four months from May to August saw below average conditions for most of the state, and while August has seen somewhat better rainfall in some areas, this rainfall has not been sufficient to compensate for earlier dry conditions.
This year’s below average rainfall also adds to much longer-term drying trend, with Victoria experiencing below average cool season rainfall in 17 of the past 20 seasons.
Such a long and consistently dry spell is unprecedented, and it is this pattern of historical dryness that is being blamed for the marked increase in fire weather severity in the past decade.
These factors are leading the BOM to predict that the fire season is likely to commence earlier than usual and be more active than normal.
The prospect of good spring fuel growth are adding to the concerns of local CFA brigades, who are encouraging people to not wait for the warmer weather to hit before reducing the amount of potential fire fuel around their home.
All landowners and occupiers are required by law to make their properties safe from fire in the lead-up to the 2017-18 fire period.
Once the warmer weather does arrive and warmer winds begin to cure the fuel, Euroa CFA Captain Damon Rieusset warned, it may be too late to reduce their risk of fire.
“We want all residents to be good community citizens and ensure their properties don’t put your neighbours at risk.
“This means removing all flammable rubbish from yards, and making sure the grass is kept cut.
“Rural properties are strongly encouraged to slash their boundaries.
“We are also urging residents to ensure they have smoke alarms, fitted with brand new batteries, as failure to act now could mean potential disaster in the event of an emergency.”
Residents need to be aware that is their responsibility to make their homes safe and hazard-free, with council conducting hazard inspections in the lead-up to the warmer months.
Failure to make your property safe may result in a fine of $1586.
The shire said it recognises it has a large population of residents over 65 and are offering assistance to residents who may struggle with checking and replacing smoke alarm batteries.
Please contact council if you, a family member, or a friend might need such support.
In addition to this, each year local fire brigades issue new batteries to all residents in their area.
All enquiries regarding this can be made to the Strathbogie Shire fire prevention officer, Ken Ross, who is available on 1800 065 993.