Pre­pare for fire sea­son

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

The CFA says Vic­to­ria is fac­ing an ear­lier, longer and, in some parts, more se­vere fire sea­son than nor­mal.

CFA oper­a­tions of­fi­cer Peter Bell said the fire dan­ger pe­riod was fast ap­proach­ing, so any burn-offs needed to be con­ducted soon.

‘‘Across the state, we are wit­ness­ing low lev­els of rain­fall and a build-up of fuel loads on the ground,’’ Mr Bell said.

‘‘These are con­di­tions that could lead to a bad fire sea­son.

‘‘The best way to de­fend your homes is to pre­pare be­fore the fire dan­ger pe­riod be­gins. This in­cludes clean­ing up your gar­dens, your gut­ters and re­mov­ing flammable waste from your yards.

‘‘Many prop­erty own­ers dis­pose of this waste with a burn-off, but con­sider al­ter­na­tive meth­ods such as mulching, chip­ping or tak­ing green waste to a trans­fer sta­tion.’’

Mr Bell also high­lighted the im­por­tance of com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

‘‘It is im­por­tant that as well as reg­is­ter­ing your burn-offs, you no­tify your neigh­bours that they may see smoke.’’ To keep your burn-off safe and le­gal: ■ Check fire re­stric­tions with your lo­cal coun­cil and reg­is­ter your burn on 1800 668 511.

■ Check and mon­i­tor weather con­di­tions, par­tic­u­larly wind.

■ To avoid un­nec­es­sary calls to emer­gency services, no­tify your neigh­bours be­fore­hand.

■ Leave a 3 m fire­break, free from flammable ma­te­ri­als around the burn.

■ Have suf­fi­cient equip­ment and wa­ter to stop the fire spread­ing.

■ Never leave a burn-off unat­tended — stay for its en­tire du­ra­tion.

■ If your burn-off gets out of con­trol, call 000 im­me­di­ately. ■ For more in­for­ma­tion about pre­par­ing your prop­erty, go to: cfa.vic.gov.au/pre­pare ■ Landown­ers can reg­is­ter their burn-off with the Emer­gency Services Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Author­ity on 1800 668 511 or email: burnoffs@esta.vic.gov.au

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