The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

CFA calls for extra vigilance


Dry conditions and warm weather will likely be the recipe for a significan­t fire season across the Wimmera this summer.

The Country Fire Authority, CFA, continues to encourage residents to be prepared.

District 17 CFA commander Chris Eagle said with crops and grass areas continuing to dry out in the coming weeks and a forecast of little to no summer rain, the fire season would look different to recent years.

“It means a significan­t fire season. Not that there will be fires every day, but each day there is increased wind and heat, the chance of fire increases,” he said.

“This year, fires will carry across the landscape and burn through grass and crops.

“We’re not likely to see a massive bushfire or forest fire season – and while it is less likely, that does not mean it won’t happen.”

Mr Eagle said the past two years were an ‘oddity’ in terms of fire seasons.

“Most of Victoria experience­d relatively quiet fire seasons. We had two significan­t fires near Langkoop last year and the year prior there was a significan­t fire at Poolaijelo,” he said.

“However, we expect this year the fire season will impact right across the state, through the Mallee, into the south-west and the east as well.”

With a wide agricultur­al landscape across the Wimmera, Mr Eagle said farmers were skilled at watching the weather to know when to work safely.

“We know farmers are good at watching the weather and making the call on when to harvest and when to not harvest and we encourage them to continue that good practice,” he said.

“We also encourage them to take every opportunit­y to harvest safely, because the quicker the crops come off, the less fuel across the district.

“Farmers should continue to watch the weather, look after their machinery and keep it cool and clean.

“At the end of every day, all the husks should be cleaned off machinery because it’s the fuel that sits on the hot part of a header that starts a fire.”

Mr Eagle said while the CFA issued the same messages each year ahead of the fire season, they remained important to preventing fires.

“Now is the time to make sure your house and area around the house is fire season ready,” he said.

“Clean gutters and do any burning off if fire restrictio­ns have not begun – that being small burning off as we don’t encourage any big burning off at this stage of the season.

“Whether you’re in Horsham Rural City or the more regional areas, make sure you clean up to prevent fires and prevent them from being extensive. Be vigilant – fires are not a matter of if this season; it’s a matter of when and where.”

Mr Eagle also encouraged people to understand the fire danger rating system and be prepared on all days, not just on Total Fire Ban days.

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