The Country Fire Authority (CFA) has declared that the Fire Danger Period across the Swan Hill Rural City municipality is now in effect.
Put in place to help prevent fires from starting, Council has already started distributing courtesy letters to residents with properties that have been identified as a potential fire risk.
Officers will also be inspecting properties for compliance and will be reminding residents to ensure their properties are appropriately cleared.
Council’s Public Health and Regulatory Services Co-ordinator Trish Ficarra wanted to remind residents that under Council’s recently adopted Local Law No 2, open air burning is not allowed in residential or commercial areas all year round.
“So essentially, what the Fire Danger Period means for most of our residents is that it is a time for caution and to ensure they have an up to date fire safety plan,” Ms Ficarra said.
“Recent weather conditions have already resulted in a number of fires across the municipality, and we really need to work together as a community to ensure fire prevention and safety is at the forefront.
“This means making sure paddocks are slashed and maintained throughout the year, clearing grass and weeds from your property and cleaning roof gutters and drain pipes regularly.
“For residents in farming areas, the Fire Danger Period means the only burning off allowed is for fuel reduction purposes. A schedule 13 permit must be obtained from Council and will only be issued if strict conditions are met. The CFA must also be notified.”
Ms Ficarra added that if property owners did not comply with fire prevention notices, further action would be taken.
“Recently two cases of non-compliance from 2016/17 were successfully prosecuted at the Magistrates’ Court.
“It’s rare that that we have cases that progress this far as most of our residents are more than happy to do the right thing. So it was disappointing in these couple of instances that these residents weren’t willing to work with us and were ultimately putting members of our community at risk.”
For more information on fire prevention and the Fire Danger Period visit Council’s website at www.swanhill.vic.gov.au or contact Council on 5036 2346.
Important things to remember:
What does not require a permit during the Fire Danger Period:
- Fires for cooking and warmth (in a constructed fire place)
- The use of welders and other machinery
Please note that conditions for their use do apply.
On Total Fire Ban days, NO fires are allowed in the open, including:
- Barbecues fuelled by wood, heat beads or briquettes
- Outdoor ovens
- Fires for warmth
- Burning off grass or rubbish
To help keep your property safe:
- Clear grass and weeds from around your home to a minimum of 3 meters
- Clear gutters, roofs and down pipes
- Store anything flammable (e.g. firewood, rubbish, gas bottles) away from your home
- Make sure your garden hoses are long enough to reach all areas of your property
- Make sure mops and buckets are easily accessible