The summer fire season on the Far South Coast could be extremely serious and people, even in built up areas, should prepare.
Households need to have a plan of what they are going to do if a fire threatens and be aware of all issues, including what to do with young people, the elderly and pets. While vegetation is still fairly green at the moment, it is plentiful and will quickly fry out as the weather warms up. This will produce fuel levels and a fire risk that we haven’t seen in decades.
It is important to ensure that vedetation around homes and sheds is kept short and there are no piles of timber or other flammable material close to structures. Most importantly, people need to be careful with equipment like grinders, welders, slashers and mowers that could spark and ignite grass. Even motor vehicle exhaust systems could cause fires when parked on verges or in paddocks where the grass was relatively dry. Smokers should not discard their cigarettes out their vehicles as they drive along.
Carelessness and a lack of thinking are the major causes of fires. Already this fire season (which started on the long weekend in October) there have been several landholders issued with infringement notices for not obtaining a permit and complying with conditions before lighting fires in rural areas. One fire burnt nearly 1000 acres of land. Landholders can be held responsible and liable to pay compensaton if a fire escapes from their property. They can also be responsible for everything that happens downwind too.