Tall grass on vacant blocks of land across the Mid-Western region is raising concerns because of the bush fire threat it poses.
“We are getting an increased number of calls about this problem as hot, windy days cause grass and other vegetation to cure from green to yellow,” said Superintendent Troy Porter of the NSW Rural Fire Service Cudgegong District, which covers the Mid-Western Regional Council area.
“I want to remind property owners that they have a responsibility to reduce the fire threat posed by vegetation on all of their land. This includes uncut grass and weeds on vacant blocks in our towns and villages, tall grass in paddocks and thick vegetation on untended 25-acre blocks or other rural property that may be owned by people living outside our region.
“Everyone who owns land in this District, whether they live here or only visit occasionally, has a responsibility to reduce the bush fire risk on their property.
“Most of the complaints that we have received have been for blocks owned by people who live outside the area.
“There are many ways people can reduce the risk. They may slash or mow or hand-remove excess fuel loads. They may carry out hazard reduction burns provided they have proper fire permits and carry out necessary safety measures. Paddocks and other farm land can be made safer by ploughing or slashing a fire break around the perimeter of the property.”
Superintendent Porter said extra care must be taken by anyone conducting a hazard reduction burn now because the lush vegetation of the spring is now getting so dry and can catch alight so easily. He said escaped hazard reduction burns can be very difficult for fire fighters to control and may bring heavy penalties to the property owner or manager.
Anyone who is concerned about fuel loads on property owned by someone else can call the Cudgegong District Fire Control Centre in Mudgee on (02) 6372 4434.
“One of our officers will then go out and assess whether the property in question poses a fire hazard,” Superintendent Porter said.
“If there is a hazard, a letter will be sent to the landholder requiring that the risk be reduced within a certain period of time. If nothing is done a second letter will be sent. If there is still nothing done then we can go in and deal with the hazard at the property owner’s expense.
“Most people remove the hazard after they get the first letter.”