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Preparing your Rural Land for Grass Fires

As summer deepens and the rain we need so badly continues to evade us, knowledge is the best preparation for the dangerous conditions that prevail. 

Grass fires can threaten quickly; even the most seasoned farmer can be caught out by the speed of a grass fire. It is vital that you have a plan so you and your family will know what to do when a grass fire is close by.

Get the simple Guide to Making Your Bush Fire Survival Plan. Your safest option is to leave early.

Be Prepared

There are simple things that you can do.

Check Box Keep grass short – you can mow it, graze it or slash it back.
Check BoxMaintain your machinery.
Check BoxKnow where you can move your animals to safety.
Check BoxCheck and maintain firefighting equipment like pumps and hoses.
Check BoxMake sure a fire truck can access your property – think about gates, bridges or obstructions.
Check BoxIf you’re using fire on your property, get to know the team at your local Fire Control Centre and find out if you need a permit.

Additional ways to prepare

Create firebreaks

Firebreaks can help stop grass fires from spreading to valuable assets such as crops, livestock or buildings. The NSW RFS recommends you mow, graze or plough around crops, valuable assets and fence lines to prevent fire escaping from your property and to reduce the likelihood of fires entering.

You should work with your neighbour to construct the most effective firebreaks.

Maintain your machinery

Farm machinery can start fires but there are things you can do to prevent them.

You should ensure that machinery is:

  • Free from any faults or mechanical defects that could start a fire.
  • Fitted with an approved spark arrestor.
  • Carrying fire suppression equipment such as a working 9L water fire extinguisher or 0.9kg dry powder fire extinguisher, or a 16L knapsack spray pump filled with water.

Tractors, slashers and harvesters should not be used unless conditions are mild and are accompanied by an independent means of extinguishing a fire (as listed above).

Grinders, welders and chainsaws shouldn’t be used unless conditions are mild, the immediate area is dampened down and clear of any materials that may cause an ignition.

What do I do if there is a grass fire?

If you see an unattended grass fire, or if your life in in danger, call Triple Zero (000).

Follow your survival plan. Your safest option is to leave early.

If you become trapped always keep the burnt ground in mind as a safety refuge point or move to a ploughed or well grazed paddock.

If you stay and risk defending your property always protect yourself by covering up all exposed skin with protective clothing such as:

  • Long-sleeved shirt and pants made from a natural fibre such as cotton.
  • Sturdy leather boots and woollen socks.
  • Leather gloves.
  • A wide-brimmed hat.
  • A face mask or towel to cover your mouth and nose.
  • Eye protection such as goggles.

 

Information for this article was sourced from:

http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/grassfires/farming

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