Take care, be prepared

By Shepparton News

Firefighters from several districts battled multiple bushfire incidents around the region yesterday including at Strathbogie, Alexandra and Mundoona.

We can count ourselves fortunate that, at the time of publishing, no lives or houses had been lost, despite the hazardous combination of extreme heat and gusting winds.

However, good fortune and luck is not the whole reason we escaped serious damage or injury.

Our fire services have been on high alert for days in preparation for yesterday’s extreme fire danger period, which included a total fire ban across the whole state.

We can be thankful our CFA members are always ready and willing to tackle fire threats in such dangerous and uncomfortable circumstances.

We must remember most are unpaid volunteers, who freely give up their time and expertise to protect our communities during these difficult days.

However, there are things we can do to make their job easier.

It helps to be aware of what you can and cannot do during declared fire danger periods and on days of total fire ban.

For instance, on total fire ban days campfires and barbecues are banned.

However, barbecues and campfires are permitted during a fire danger period if the fire is lit in a properly-constructed fireplace or in a trench at least 30cm deep.

A commercially-produced barbecue would be considered a properly constructed fireplace.

There are similar rules for the operation of chainsaws, commercial catering, scaring guns, driving vehicles and farm machinery.

The full set of rules on the do’s and do not’s on total fire ban days and fire danger periods can be found at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/warnings-restrictions/can

It would pay us all to be aware of the rules. It is knowledge that would save firefighters valuable time and effort.

Importantly, being aware of our behaviour during total fire ban days could save lives.