District Feeling Impact of Grass Fires

With our district already feeling an impact from the growing risk of grass fires, the NSW Rural Fire Service is encouraging everyone, whether you live on the land or in a town or village, to look at ways of reducing their risk.

“From the start of December through the first two weeks of January we experienced 14 grass fires, including four ignited by slashers and two sparked by lawn mowers,” said Superintendent Troy Porter of the Cudgegong RFS District, which covers the Mid-Western Regional Council area.

“Grass fires are extremely dangerous because they can start and spread quickly, destroying homes, crops, people’s livelihoods and potentially even the lives of people and animals,” Superintendent Porter said.

“This is especially true now with vegetation getting very dry and temperatures soaring, particularly in the afternoon.

“Creating firebreaks now can offer valuable protection by helping slow the spread of grass fires and reduce the risk of any fire entering or leaving your property.

“A firebreak can be as simple as a well mowed lawn or a border cut, mowed or ploughed around buildings like homes or sheds, along fence lines and near other valuable assets like storage.

“Once in place, make sure firebreaks are maintained so if a fire does start, they are effective.

“You can also work with neighbours to construct effective firebreaks to help prevent fires from burning across large tracts of land, limiting damage.”

The RFS is also reminding landholders to check and maintain machinery such as tractors, slashers, harvesters, welders, chainsaws and grinders and to consider the weather before starting to perform tasks that might spark a fire.

“All machinery should be fitted with a spark arrestor, and there should always be a working fire extinguisher or knapsack full of water readily available,” Superintendent Porter said.

“The use of machinery during hot, dry and windy conditions should also be re-considered.

“If a fire does start it’s also important that you call Triple Zero (000) immediately. The sooner you report the fire to us, the sooner firefighters can get to it and potentially stop it spreading further.”

Superintendent Porter offered these additional tips for helping protect yourself and your family from grass or bush fires: (over) Grass Fires

  • Remember, grass fires can move three times as fast as a bush fire and the risk of grass fires will continue to increase as weather gets hotter and vegetation gets drier.
  • Keep grass short – you can mow it, graze it or slash it back.
  • Know where you can move your animals to safety, 
  • Check and maintain firefighting equipment like pumps and hoses. 
  • Make sure a fire truck can access your property – think about gates or obstructions.
  • If you’re using fire on your property, you may require a permit from your local RFS Brigade or the team at your local Fire Control Centre.
  • When travelling, get the Fires Near Me app or go to the NSW RFS website and follow us on social media to stay up-to-date.
  • For more information on grass fires go to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/grassfires Bush Fires
  • Discuss with your family what you will do if a fire happens near you.
  • Prepare your home and get it ready for bush fire season.
  • Know the bush fire alert levels.

For current incidents and major fire updates visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au 

THREAT INCREASING: Our district experienced 12 grass fires from the start of December 2016 through the first week of January 2017. Photo: RFS

THREAT INCREASING: Our district experienced 12 grass fires from the start of December 2016 through the first week of January 2017. Photo: RFS