Pre­pare for fire sea­son

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

This year’s fire sea­son will start ear­lier and be more in­tense, ac­cord­ing to Co­bram Fire Brigade cap­tain Adrian Hilder.

As part of Fire Ac­tion Week this week, the brigade is urg­ing res­i­dents to pre­pare their homes and make sure they are fol­low­ing lo­cal laws.

‘‘This sum­mer is look­ing sim­i­lar to 2009 — we haven’t had any de­cent rain dur­ing win­ter mean­ing it’s dry­ing out quickly,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘We’ve com­menced our pre­sea­son train­ing, in­clud­ing some track work, burn over drills and haz­ardous tree as­sess­ments.

‘‘We’re also look­ing at ru­ral prop­er­ties on the out­skirts of town to as­sess growth and for­est close to the town­ship,’’ he said.

Mr Hilder said the brigade would hold an open day and in­for­ma­tion ses­sion in the com­ing months to of­fer ad­vice for res­i­dents on how to be pre­pared.

He also stressed the im­por­tance of fol­low­ing lo­cal law and con­di­tions of per­mits.

‘‘Peo­ple need to make sure they’re do­ing the right thing. Dur­ing a to­tal fire ban, res­i­dents on a town block can’t light a fire and on larger prop­er­ties they need to make sure they have a per­mit,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘“And if you have a per­mit, make sure you fol­low the con­di­tions closely.’’

If res­i­dents burn off with­out a per­mit or vi­o­late the con­di­tions of their per­mit, they could face charges.

‘‘The last thing we want is to have peo­ple be­ing charged or go­ing be­fore a mag­is­trate,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘If you light a fire and it burns your neigh­bours’ fences and prop­erty, you’re li­able for the da­m­ages.

‘‘This sum­mer it’s a ze­ro­tol­er­ance ap­proach, with each callout VicPol won’t be far be­hind the fire crews,’’ he said.

Res­i­dents should be tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cooler weather while it lasts and tidy up prop­er­ties.

‘‘In the com­ing weeks peo­ple should be tidy­ing up their blocks, cut­ting down grass be­fore it gets too hot and dry and prun­ing back gate­ways for easy ac­cess if tankers do need to come onto the prop­erty,’’ Mr Hilder said.

‘‘On ru­ral prop­er­ties, es­tab­lish a green or min­eral earth fire break.’’

Co­bram Fire Brigade’s open day and in­for­ma­tion ses­sion is on Novem­ber 18 at the sta­tion. For in­for­ma­tion about bush­fire plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion, visit cfa.vic.gov.au

Time to start pre­par­ing: Co­bram Fire Brigade vol­un­teers David Barr, cap­tain Adrian Hilder and Steve Zon­n­eveldt are get­ting pre­pared for a po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous and long fire sea­son.

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