Guide for safe har­vest

Farm­ers urged to con­sider the fire dan­ger risks

Southern Riverina news - - RURAL OUTLOOK -

The NSW Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice is ask­ing land­hold­ers and har­vest­ing op­er­a­tors in the Mid-Mur­ray Zone to make use of the Vol­un­tary Grain Har­vest­ing Guide this fire sea­son.

The guide is de­signed for farm­ers and con­trac­tors to make an in­formed de­ci­sion at the lo­cal level, based on a set of iden­ti­fied weather con­di­tions.

Mid-Mur­ray Zone In­spec­tor Doug Adam­son said it was de­vel­oped specif­i­cally as a har­vest­ing guide, and fire author­i­ties are also us­ing it as a guide when con­sid­er­ing per­mit burn ap­pli­ca­tions this sea­son.

He said the de­ci­sion to cross-ref­er­ence the guide was based on the high num­ber of outof-con­trol per­mit burns last year.

‘‘There would have been well over 20 outof-con­trol per­mit burns in the Mid-Mur­ray area alone last year,’’ Insp Adam­son said.

‘‘It was al­most dou­ble the year ear­lier, and prob­a­bly the worst I’ve seen since join­ing the zone in 2004.

‘‘These es­caped burns caused a lot of trou­ble for land­hold­ers, their neigh­bours and for our fire­fight­ers.

‘‘We had three or four har­vest fires last sea­son, some of which re­sulted in the loss of head­ers.’’

Insp Adam­son said those oper­at­ing har­vest­ing ma­chin­ery need to take a proac­tive ap­proach to min­imise the risk of fire in cer­tain con­di­tions.

‘‘The New South Wales RFS ap­pre­ci­ates the co­op­er­a­tion of farm­ers on days of height­ened fire dan­ger, and a few hours of down­time lowers the risk of fires break­ing out and can pre­vent a great deal of dam­age.

‘‘Main­te­nance of ma­chin­ery is also key, and farm­ers need to be aware of the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of their ac­tions.

‘‘Last year there was high fuel load­ing, and many got caught out by the con­di­tions.’’

Insp Adam­son said the guide was de­vel­oped in part­ner­ship with New South Wales Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion and Aus­tralian Cus­tom Har­vesters.

He said it was cre­ated after lis­ten­ing to the con­cerns about broad area cease har­vest­ing rul­ings.

‘‘The Vol­un­tary Grain Har­vest­ing Guide is easy to use and com­pact enough to have read­ily ac­ces­si­ble, whether it’s in the har­vester cabin, shed or home,’’ Insp Adam­son said.

‘‘Us­ing this step by step ap­proach can de­ter­mine if the cur­rent con­di­tions need har­vest­ing op­er­a­tions to stop un­til the weather is safe to re­turn to the pad­dock.’’

You can ac­cess and down­load the guide through the New South Wales RFS web­site, with cur­rent and fore­cast Fire Dan­ger Rat­ings also avail­able at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

The Bush Fire Dan­ger Pe­riod for the Mid Mur­ray Zone started on October 1.

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