Prepare for fire season
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.