Fire danger period begins in Mitchell

The fire danger period in the Mitchell Shire will begin on Monday December 7.

Mitchell Shire Council is stepping up its fire safety programs and is calling on the community to follow suit.

Council has completed the roadside spraying program, started property inspections in high risk areas, is issuing fire prevention notices and has started roadside slashing on priority roads.

Regional Roads Victoria has almost completed its slashing program on main roads and highways.

A new Safer Together program in Reedy Creek, Wandong, Heathcote Junction and Tooborac is also underway.

The program supports prevention, preparation, response and recovery from fires and other emergencies.

Council is delivering the program in three communities this year as a pilot thanks to funding from the State Government’s Strengthening Community Partnerships for Bushfire Management with Local Government funding stream.

As part of the program, the council is hosting free Emergency RediPlan sessions on December 1 and 8 to help people prepare a household emergency plan.

Bookings at www.mitchellrediplan.eventbrite.com.au.

Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said the start of the CFA fire danger period was a good time for people to review their fire plan to ensure their property was fire ready.

“We’ve had a wet start to the season which means there’s a lot of growth that is now starting to dry off. We’ve even had a few small fires already,” she said.

“Council, emergency services and emergency service volunteers are doing their bit to reduce the fire risk.

“Property owners also need to make sure they are prepared so we can all work together to help safeguard the region and protect our community and loved ones this fire season.”

The Country Fire Authority and brigades are hosting several information sessions to help people understand their fire risk and keep their properties fire ready throughout summer.

From Monday, people cannot burn off without a permit and they need to be fire-ready throughout the fire danger period.

Rural properties that join urban areas should maintain an adequate fire break and council’s local law requires grass on all residential properties to be kept under 20 centimetres at all times throughout the fire danger period.

Other steps people can take to reduce their fire risk include:

  • Reduce leaf litter and overgrown shrubs
  • Remove branches overhanging buildings and leaf litter from gutters
  • Store fuels and chemicals away from your house
  • Move woodpiles away from the house
  • Ensure underfloor areas are enclosed or screened
  • Prevent embers from entering your house by sealing gaps, vents and roof spaces
  • Make your stock safe — build a fire safe area or paddock by creating a mineral earth break and reducing fuel loads.

For more visit www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/fire-ready or www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare.