CFA warns against grass cutting or slashing in dry conditions
Residents are warned to be extra cautious if undertaking grass cutting or slashing in dry conditions.
Unseasonal rain at the end of 2018 and high temperatures again this week have resulted in a flush of grass and many residents who had prepared their properties and slashed their blocks have now found themselves with more long grass on their land. While there may be pressure to attend to this, any mechanical works in the fire danger period is extremely risky and should be avoided.
CFA District 2 Operations Officer Hugh Kelly said “preparing properties using machinery was best completed in spring or early summer when conditions were milder. Usually slashing is done before the fire danger period and more often than not, it’s too late once summer sets in.” He also commented ‘we are now faced with regrowth following summer rains; however it is not advisable to take ride-on mowers or tractors onto long dry grass on days of extreme weather conditions.”
Operations Officer Kelly also commented that “CFA attends fires on a daily basis that have started as a result of machinery creating sparks when blades hit a rock, piece of wire or other objects. Even if the operator is carrying the correct amount of water, and has their machine prepared, a small spark may not easily be seen when a tractor is moving and by the time the ignition is putting up flames, the operator could be on the other side of the paddock.”
Grassfires can start and spread quickly, especially on days when the Fire Danger Rating is Severe, Extreme or Code Red. Fire Danger Ratings tell you how dangerous a fire would be if one started. As the ratings increase, so does the risk of uncontrollable fire.
The Fire Danger Period is when the use of fire in the community is restricted. This is to help prevent fires from starting. The Fire Danger Period is declared for each municipality (shire or council) at different times in the lead up to the fire season, depending on the amount of rain, grassland curing rate and other local conditions. This may be as early as October in some municipalities, and typically remains in place until the fire danger lessens, which could be as late as May. Total Fire Bans are declared on days when fires are likely to spread rapidly and be difficult to control.
The Fire Danger Period is NOT the same thing as a Total Fire Ban.
For further information –
- Visit cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can - to download the Can I Can’t I brochure;
- Visit cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can#id_chainsaw_lawn – for restrictions applying to the use of chainsaws, plant, grass trimmers or lawn mowers on Total Fire Ban days and during the Fire Danger Period;
- Ring the Vic Emergency Hotline on 1800 226 226;
- Contact the City of Greater Bendigo Municipal Fire Prevention Officer – Sue Moses on 03 54346000;