Sparking fires

March 19, 2017

An increase in the number of grassfires being started by machinery has prompted the CFA to remind residents to take the right precautions to ensure they aren’t the cause of a damaging grass or bushfire.

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

‘‘The current dry conditions right throughout the north-east puts communities at high risk of fires, especially our grassland. 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,’’ he said.

‘‘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 suggested a number of actions property owners could take to minimise the risk of starting fires and reduce the impact if there was a fire.

Machinery and mowers should only be used when it is cooler and moisture content in the grass is higher, such as in the morning or on cooler days.

Also, clean around the engine and working parts of the machinery regularly while working in dry grass to prevent build-up of seed or grass cuttings, and 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 9litres of water available or a hose connected to a tap on standby, even when using a push mower.

Landowners can be prosecuted and held liable for any damage caused by a fire that starts on their property as a result of not complying with requirements set out in the CFA Can I, Can’t I brochure.

Mr Van Dorsser said all work in dry grass should be avoided on days of Total Fire Ban.

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