Shepparton

Fire danger warning

By Tara Whitsed

The region is among the likely to experience an above average bushfire season, CFA chief executive Steve Warrington has warned.

Hume, along with the regional areas of West, South and East Gippsland, have had high levels of landscape dryness as entering into spring.

‘‘If we don’t get good rain, the conditions will be a problem over summer,’’ he said.

While the Bureau of Meteorology recorded 9mm of rainfall in Shepparton in the last seven days up to yesterday morning, climate outlooks produced by the BoM indicated warmer and drier conditions, which would only worsen the current state of dryness in spring and early summer.

Strathbogie Shire Council municipal emergency manager Ken Ross urged residents to start preparing their properties now.

‘‘Grass curing can occur very quickly and even though the grass may be green, there will still be a requirement to keep within the required standards,” he said.

Mr Ross said properties within townships or less than 2.6Ha must remove all flammable rubbish from their yards and ensure grass and weeds were kept cut to a height of no more than 100mm.

‘‘Properties greater than 2.6Ha must slash around all buildings to a minimum distance of 20 metres,’’ he said.

‘‘Property boundaries must be slashed to a width of 6 metres. When neighbouring dwellings and assets are nearby this must be increased to at least 20 metres.’’

Mr Warrington urged brigades to be prepared and alert as early as next month when conditions may become susceptible to sources of ignitions.

‘‘Over coming months well be formally engaging with regions, districts and brigades, but it is important we all start to focus now on preparing for the season ahead,’’ he said.

‘‘I encourage you to consider that pre-season preparedness activity will commence earlier than usual and the planned burn season is likely to commence earlier than usual, with heightened risks in drier conditions.’’

Tips to help prepare your property:

●Grass and weeds should be kept under 10cm in height

●Remove flammable material in yards, on decks or near neighbouring fences

●If there is rural land abutting urban housing a minimum 20-metre fire break must be maintained between the land and the neighbouring property

●Keep gutters clear of leaves

●Prune low-hanging branches from trees and shrubs

●Do not have large shrubs next to or under windows

●Store woodpiles and flammable liquids away from the house

For more information and advice about fire safety, visit the Country Fire Authority’s website www.cfa.vic.gov.au

To receive information about fire events in your region, download the VicEmergency app on your mobile or device, which is also available on the CFA website.