Fire Prevention Information
2016/17 FIRE SEASON 1 December 2016 to the 30 April 2017
Did you know that as the owner of a property you have a duty to prevent the occurrence or spread of fire through land, whether you're a residential or rural block owner with a dwelling or even vacant land. This is part of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (Part 3 Division 8 and Part 4 Division 7 and 8).
The SA Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (Country Fire Service part) states under Section 105 that -
"(2) The owner of private land in the country must take reasonable steps to protect property on the land from fire and to prevent or inhibit the outbreak of fire on the land, or the spread of fire through the land.
Maximum penalty: $5,000.
(3) An owner of private land must, in acting under subsection (2), take into account proper land management principles."
Throughout the year it is always time to look at measures that can be implemented for the protection of life and property through fire prevention measures. This entails ensuring all flammable material is cleared from around dwellings; rural properties ensuring proper land management principles are adhered to, to stop the spread of fire through their property while adhering to the Native Vegetation Act for fire breaks etc.
In the garden and around the home:
- Cut down grass and clear away any fallen branches, leaves and dead undergrowth within 20 metres of the home.
- Prune lower branches less than 1 metre above the ground to provide a vertical fuel break to help prevent ground fires from spreading into trees.
- Remove any mulch to at least 1 metre from any dwelling wall and move woodpiles away from the dwellings.
- Ensure all gutters are kept clear of leaves and twigs.
Rural Living - On rural properties, prepare and maintain fuel breaks around fence lines, buildings, equipment sheds, haystacks, hay sheds and fuel supplies.
Fuel reduction on vacant allotments greater than 0.03 hectares in size. It is considered that a mown or ploughed firebreak be constructed around the perimeter of the block of land to the minimum width of 4metres. The flammable growth on the firebreak is to be maintained to maximum height of 10cms for the duration of the fire danger season.
Council undertakes an annual township vacant land clearance program which commences in the second week October each year, this involves inspection of township properties and some rural allotments, under the provisions of Section 105 of South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005.
Council has the legal ability to issue a Section 105F hazard reduction notice if :
'the Council believes that the conditions on private land in a fire district are as such as to cause an unreasonable risk by the outbreak of fire on the land, or the spread of fire through the land, due to the presence of flammable undergrowth or other flammable or combustible materials or substances'.
It is the landowners responsibility to comply with the requirements of the Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005. Failure to comply with the directions as set out on the hazard reduction notice will result in the property owner incurring an expiation of $315.00, plus the recovery cost incurred by Council for carrying out the work as set out in the notice.
It is recommended that property owners keep the height of grass on their property to a maximum height of 10 centimetres for the duration of the fire danger season.
Click on the following links for an explanation on burning controls for refuse or rural residents.
The following links to the CFS website and fact sheets provide information on bushfire survival.
CFS Fact Sheets:
Keep fire out of your home
Most homes burn down due to sparks and embers that blow underneath the homes roof tiles and then ignite the roof timbers or when the embers lodge themselves in under floor spaces, or in crevices, on window sills, in vents or under verandahs.
Spark proof your home by fitting metal flywire screens to windows and doors or install fire resistance metal shutters. Cover all wall cavities with fine wire mesh.
Property and Home
Many factors influence the risk of losing life and property during bushfires including: the location and accessibility of a property, the amount and type of vegetation, the condition and placement of buildings, availability of water and the physical capabilities of you and your family.
Long term preparation may include changing the layout of your property. Strategically placed garden walls, driveways, trees, shrubs and outbuildings can protect your home from radiant heat significantly, increasing the prospect of its survival.
Cleanup now for summer safety and remove all flammable materials from around the house. This is one of the most important preparations you must make.
It is essential to prepare your home to withstand a bushfire. If you choose to ignore the need for fuel reduction prior to, and during the Fire Danger Season, you may endanger your own life, the life of other family members and your property, not to mention the lives and property of your neighbours.
Bushfire prevention is a year round responsibility and a necessity for all property owners. It is far more than a weekend cleanup around the house and sheds and the property just prior to the bushfire season.
Residents are advised that during a major fire, mains water supplies cannot be relied upon as the water pressure can drop and power supply may be cut to the entire Council area. Therefore tanks, swimming pools and even dams can become good sources of water for residents and the Country Fire Service.
In order for this water supply to be utilised, a petrol but preferably a diesel powered pump and hoses are required.
Airconditioners and Skylights
To prevent sparks and smoke from entering your house, turn off evaporative air conditioners. Residents should also be aware of the fact that plastic skylights may melt and glass can break in extreme temperatures .
For better protection of your home install wire meshed glass or thermoplastic covers to skylights.
Ensure there is clear access to your property, which will allow for the safe movement of firefighting vehicles. Gateways to properties should be at least three metres in width. Roadways should be constructed of a well-compacted materials and there should be solid crossings over permanent waterways. A turn around area of at least 25 metres is required for CFS vehicles at the end of driveways.
Residents are further advised that the CFS cannot guarantee the presence of a firefighting appliance and crew to protect every home during a major bushfire situation. It is therefore extremely important to plan for your families safety and be self-reliant. Making the right decision about whether to stay or go is critical for you and your families safety. If you have any doubts it is advisable to leave early.
If you have any other questions or queries please contact Council's Fire Prevention Officer on 8551 0500 or press the link button to go to the following websites.