Property owners urged to prepare for fire season
November 17, 2017
Colac Otway Shire Council is urging landowners to act now to clean up their properties in preparation for the upcoming fire season.
Council’s Fire Awareness Officer Tristan Crews said the official commencement date for the Fire Danger Period was yet to be announced by the CFA, but encouraged the community to act now.
“Given we live in a high risk bushfire area, it’s important to begin working early to reduce the fuel load of grass and fire danger fuels. With the high rainfall, growth of these fire danger fuels will be greater than some previous years,” he said.
“Once the Fire Danger Period begins, anyone wanting to burn off on their property will need a permit from Council.”
Council is set to commence its yearly fire prevention inspection program on Friday 24 November to assess potential fire hazards on properties within the shire.
Mr Crews encouraged property owners to contact Council if they had questions about cleaning up their property. The fire inspection program will continue through to the end of the declared Fire Danger Period in May.
“Property clean-up is primarily about reducing hazards and the risks of potential loss of life and property,” he said.
“Reducing fuel loads on properties ensures that if a fire does break out, it has less chance of taking hold on either your property or that of your neighbours. Being fire ready is everyone’s responsibility.”
More information on being fire ready is available at www.colacotway.vic.gov.au
In the case of a potential fire hazard being identified, property owners or occupiers will be issued a fire prevention notice from Council detailing steps that must be undertaken to manage the risk on the property.
Failure to act on a notice can result in an infringement of $1585.70 (set by State Government) plus clean-up fees and costs.
“We’d much rather work with landowners than issue fines, so if anyone needs advice about cleaning up their property we encourage them to contact Council’s Compliance Unit on 5232 9400,” Mr Crews said.
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.
Hobby Farms — Prepare a 10 metre fuel reduction zone on all external boundaries. Grass heights should not
exceed 100 millimetres. Maintain up to a 20 metre fuel reduction zone around dwellings, outbuildings and sheds.
Farms — 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.