Fire warning

February 17, 2017

The Country Fire Authority is calling on landholders to take the right precautions to ensure they aren’t the cause of a damaging grass fire or bushfire after an increasing number of fires caused by machinery.

CFA operations manager Rob Van Dorsser said it was concerning the amount of fires in recent weeks that had been a result of machinery being operated in dry grass.

‘‘The current dry conditions puts communities at high risk of fires, especially our grassland,’’ Mr Van Dorsser said.

‘‘It only takes a spark from mower blades hitting rocks, an exhaust pipe or from grass build-up around hot engines to start a fire.

‘‘We encourage people to keep their grass short during the warmer months, but using any type of motorised machinery in dry grassland presents a risk.’’

Mr Van Dorsser said there were a number of actions property owners could take to minimise the risk of starting fires and reduce the impact if there was a fire, including:

●If possible only use machinery/mowers when it is cooler and moisture content in the grass is higher (in the morning or on cooler days);

●Clean around the engine and working parts of the machinery regularly to prevent build-up of seed or grass cuttings;

●Ensure the machine is well maintained and in good working order;

●Ensure the exhaust is fitted with a spark arrester; and

●Always have a minimum of nine litres of water available or a hose connected to a tap on standby (even when using a push mower).

Mr Van Dorsser said land owners needed to be aware they could be prosecuted and held liable for any damage caused by a fire that started on their property as a result of not complying with requirements set out in the CFA’s Can I, Can’t I? brochure.

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