Bushfire risks 2016: permit free burn offs available.

WELL ALIGHT: Fires burn across the hills near Pomonal during the 2006 bushfires. Grampians residents can undertake permit free burn offs in October.

WELL ALIGHT: Fires burn across the hills near Pomonal during the 2006 bushfires. Grampians residents can undertake permit free burn offs in October.

Residents in the Northern Grampians Shire have the opportunity to conduct fire fuel reduction burns without a permit from 2pm, October 3 to 11pm October 14.

Although rain has created heavy weather conditions now, the increase in native grass and road side scrub has created heavier fuel for fires during summer.

Council fire prevention officer John Matthews said now was the time for residents to assess the fire risk on their properties.

“Adequately preparing for the fire season is extremely important and helps to reduce the risk of fire in our communities,” he said.

“After the declared period and in accordance with the CFA Act, council will be commencing fire prevention inspections and issuing fire prevention notices to property owners or occupiers whose properties constitute a danger to life or property from the threat of fire.

“Owners or occupiers who fail to comply with a fire prevention notice within the specified time will incur a fine, currently set at $1555.

“It is vital that the community commences their fire preparation early and maintains the fuel reduction for the entire fire danger period.”

Mr Matthews said Council was starting its fire preparation activities for the summer season.

“Vegetation reduction is being carried out on designated strategic fire breaks, roads, and road reserves in order to reduce the risk to life and property,” he said.

District 16 Country Fire Authority operations manager Alfred Mason said the recent rainfall would not curb the risk created by a significant drought period for the region.

“When it comes to grassland and cropping there is a heavier level of fuel to burn,” he said.

“The grass is higher and thicker and we know that will dry off.

“The fire season will come in later than other years, but the potential stock of fuel is significant.

“if we have a hot dry day there will be a fire.”

Despite the potential risk Mr Mason said firefighters said full lakes and dams would put firefighters in a strong position to combat and blazes.

“We are probably better off because we do have water in dams and previously we have not had that,” he said.

“In the past we would had to have huge water tankers on standby.”

Mr Mason said property owners should burn off excess fuel before summer arrived.

“If people have potential fire fuel they should burn them now,” he said.

Mr Matthews said residents can find more information about the permit free burn off at www.ngshire.vic.gov.au/fire or by calling council on 5358 8700 or the district CFA office on 1800 858 116.

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