Getting Fire Ready
Fire Action Week
Victoria’s annual fire awareness week, was launched following the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. This is Victoria's annual fire planning and preparation week, and signals the start of the Summer Fire Campaign. Fire Action Week is a great opportunity to find out more about the fire risk in your local area, talk to your family about how you will stay safe, and decide well in advance what you will do to stay safe from fire. Last summer Victoria experienced an early start to the summer season, with significant fires in October and November, followed by the Wye River/Separation Creek fire in late December 2015. Across the entire season, there were 21 Total Fire Ban days, with Extreme Fire Danger conditions forecast over five days. In total, Victoria’s emergency services responded to over 4,500 bush and grassfires, resulting in 28,000 hectares burnt and the loss of 145 homes. Right now, forecasts show there is potential for another above average fire season. Over the summer months, fire safety messages will be promoted through television, radio, press, outdoor and digital advertisements, as well as through social media channels. CFA brigades around the state will be talking to their communities about the local fire risk, how to prepare, and what to do to stay safe over summer. Download your Fire Ready Kit at www.cfa.vic.gov.au For more information on how to get prepared and stay informed during the fire season, visit http://emergency.vic.gov.au
Getting fire ready needs a whole-of-community effort
Despite the abundance of water lying around at the moment, Horsham Rural City Council is encouraging communities to start preparing for the upcoming fire season.
Municipal Fire Prevention Officer Martin Duke said now was the time for residents to assess the fire risk on their properties and take corrective action to reduce any hazards.
"The excellent rainfall we've had this year has produced a lot of growth, which could very easily become a high fuel load during summer if not properly managed," he said.
"Adequately preparing for the fire season is extremely important and helps to reduce the risk of fire in our communities.
"We are currently having pre-season briefings with CFA, DELWP and all other agencies, and the message is consistent. It is vital that the community commences their fire preparation early and maintains the fuel reduction for the entire fire danger period," Mr Duke said.
Reducing fuel loads ensures that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold on private property or of spreading through whole regions.
Council works in partnership with the community in relation to this important issue, and Council's fire prevention program also involves responding to notifications from community members about properties that are not being appropriately managed.
Ongoing maintenance is the key to minimising fire threat - a little bit of work at regular intervals ensures property does not become unmanageable. As well as reducing the threat of fire, this can also prevent a whole range of potential issues, including snake and vermin infestation.
Council inspects properties throughout the Fire Danger Period, in accordance with the CFA Act. Council's Fire Inspection Program commences in mid-October. Properties found to be non-compliant are issued with a fire prevention notice. Property owners who do not comply with a fire prevention notice face heavy penalties. These include state government penalties, which currently start at $1,555.
It is the responsibility of landowners to undertake the following:
Vacant land and small residential blocks
Cut and remove all grass to a height not exceeding 100 millimetres; remove general rubbish, tree and garden waste, and fine fuels such as leaves and bark. Please leave substantial trees.
Prepare a 10 metre fuel reduction zone on all external boundaries. Grass height should not exceed 100 millimetres. Maintain up to a 20 metre fuel reduction zone around dwellings, outbuildings and sheds.
Create a fuel reduction zone of 20 metres around dwellings, outbuildings and sheds. Maintain a fuel reduction zone of 10 metres on all external boundaries where normal cropping and grazing activity is not occurring.
Landowners contribute to community safety by managing your property to reduce the risk of fire and mitigate the impact if fire does occur in our shire. Please call Council on (03) 5382 9777 to discuss your individual situation and any challenges you may be facing in the area of fire preparedness.