Fire Danger Period starts in the Surf Coast Shire
Published on 17 November 2023
The Fire Danger Period in the Surf Coast Shire starts on Monday 20 November.
The Surf Coast Shire Council is undertaking works to reduce fire danger risks, including its annual Fire Prevention Roadside Slashing Program.
Starting in the hinterland, three machines will work their way from the northern part of the shire to the south, with works expected to take three to four weeks.
Cr Heather Wellington said the program, covering Council-managed roads – is part of Council’s commitment to fire prevention during the 2023-24 fire danger period.
“Roadside slashing has several benefits from a fire risk reduction point of view,” Cr Wellington said.
“It reduces the potential for roadside ignition from cars/trailers/machinery pulling over.
“It reduces radiant heat –the heat the grass produces when on fire. This has a few benefits including reducing the potential size and risk of the fire.
“Longer grass has the potential to carry fire upwards, if it is short, the fire may just burn along the ground under trees and not ignite them.
“Slashed grass is safer and easier for fire agencies to contain. Keeping grass slashed also means road reserves can serve as linear fire breaks when required.”
As the Surf Coast Shire readies for a predicted hotter and drier bushfire season, it’s a timely reminder when it comes to fire safety, we all play a role.
“Reducing bushfire/grassfire risk is a joint responsibility between government agencies, local councils and the community,” Cr Wellington said.
“Now is the time to start preparing. This includes updating your bushfire survival plan and undertaking preparation/maintenance works on your property.
“You don't have to live near bush to be at risk of fire. Grassfire can be just as dangerous as bushfire.”
Council’s Fire Prevention Officers are also starting property inspections for compliance with fire prevention measures, such as vegetation management and grass slashing.
Residents in urban areas should aim to keep all grass shorter than 10cm and residents on rural properties should reduce grass around key assets.
Properties that are considered a fire hazard are issued with a fire prevention notice and the owner is required to undertake the prescribed works. Failing to act on a fire prevention notice may result in fines.
Council is also asking local farmers to refrain from using council road reserves for strip grazing to assist with keeping the grass down.
“Road reserves can contain areas of high conservation. These roadsides may have rare or endangered species of plants present protected by laws,” Cr Wellington said.
“Strip grazing can interfere with planned works and cause unnecessary delays.
You can find more details at surfcoast.vic.gov.au/FireReady or call Council’s customer service team on 5261 0600 if you have any questions about the program.