Clean up now — fire danger period almost here

November 01, 2017

CAMPASPE Shire’s fire danger period is expected to take effect by mid-November.

Which means now is the time for landholders to start cleaning up, according to CFA Campaspe Shire district 20 operations officer John Cutting.

‘‘Land owners need to clean up around their property and people need to start cleaning up around their houses, such as gutters and outbuildings,’’ he said.

With our season predicted to be high risk and above normal bushfire potential, Mr Cutting said preparation was key as a warm and reasonably dry winter had produced a large fuel load across the region.

‘‘For us, we’re tracking not much different to previous years but with the deficit of rain, fuel loads are drying out quickly,’’ Mr Cutting said.

‘‘Once cropping starts, headers and machines have the potential to spark fires.’’

Mr Cutting said CFA crews had already attended several fires caused by out-of-control burn-offs.

‘‘People need to take weather conditions into account,’’ he said.

Only burn-offs in areas larger than 2ha are permitted.

‘‘It’s important people phone the burn-off notification line (1800 668 511) to ensure fire services are aware of their planned burn ... and that they have sufficient water on hand,’’ Mr Cutting said.

Free green waste will be accepted at Campaspe Shire’s transfer stations from November 4-19.

Limits will apply to one cubic metre (standard trailer load).

Over the border, Moama is looking at an average bushfire season.

However, NSW RFS mid-Murray zone Inspector Doug Adamson said an average season could still be dangerous.

‘‘Briefings we have received from the Bureau of Meteorology have taken a bet each way on what is expected with the weather over summer but we do not expect too much outside an average season,’’ he said.

‘‘Fuel loads from around Deniliquin or perhaps Conargo south to Moama are about average, slightly more as you get closer to Moama.’’

The mid-Murray zone’s bushfire season started on October 1, with permits required for all agricultural burns until the season ends on March 31, 2018.

There will be a no-burn period during December and January.

Mr Adamson said he didn’t expect this season to be busier than the last.

‘‘A bit of luck with weather and the community doing the right thing will take the pressure off,’’ he said.

‘‘It really depends on the weather. If we get a lot of dry lightning storms and hot windy weather, it could be a problem season.’’

Mr Adamson also warned people to be prepared for the bushfire season, by cleaning up around their homes and farms, and to be aware of weather conditions and Total Fire Ban days.

‘‘Solid fuel fire bans are in place in NSW national parks and forests during the bushfire danger period,’’ he said.

‘‘Take care with vehicles, machinery and power tools in dry grass areas. Have a fire extinguisher or knapsack ready in case a fire starts.

‘‘We will ask for harvest operations to cease and no permit burns allowed if the Grass Fire Danger Index is at 35 or above.’’

According to a new Climate Council report, NSW is facing increasingly dangerous bushfire seasons, starting earlier and lasting longer as a result of intensifying climate change.

The Earlier, More Frequent, More Dangerous: Bushfires in NSW report shows climate change exacerbated the record-breaking heat in winter and early spring, sparking dangerous fire conditions across the state and much of Australia.

Climate councillor and ecologist Professor Lesley Hughes said NSW would continue to experience an increasing number of days with dangerous fire weather, placing fire services and medical professionals under increasing pressure.

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