From November each year, Council officers inspect properties in the City of Whitehorse to ensure that long grass and any materials that may pose a fire hazard are removed. Apart from the fire risk, overgrown properties look unsightly and may attract snakes and vermin.
Property owners are encouraged to implement a regular maintenance program on their property to ensure all long grass is slashed and other potential fire hazards are identified and removed without the need for Council intervention.
Grass should be cut and maintained to a height of 20cm or less. Other potential fire hazards are stored dry grass, dry tree branches and dry or dead vegetation.
Where it is determined that a property is a fire hazard, a fire prevention notice will be sent to the landowner giving them a direction to remove the fire hazard from their land.
Under the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Act, people can be fined if they allow their property to become a fire hazard.
You should also be aware that if a notice is not complied with, the land may be compulsorily cleared with all costs being passed onto the property owner, in addition to any fines issued.
Council officers are happy to discuss suitable maintenance programs with property owners or any fire prevention issues. For more information, please call Council on 9262 6333 and ask to speak to Community Laws.
For further information, please go to www.mfb.vic.gov.au or www.cfa.vic.gov.au
Bushfires can also occur in metropolitan Melbourne. Below is some simple advice to keep you safe throughout the summer.
To help you prepare for bushfires, the Country Fire Authority has developed the Fire Ready Kit. Take some time to work through the kit and prepare your home or prepare for that rural holiday.
Just because you live in metropolitan Melbourne doesn't mean you're not at risk from bushfire or a serious grass fire. It's essential you're always aware of local fire restrictions and Total Fire Ban days.
You can reduce the fire risk around your home by clearing anything that could fuel fire, like leaves, branches or long grass – especially if your property is close to a park, forest or grassland. Start making your property summer fire safe now. Make a plan and know what you are going to do in the event of a fire near you.
If you're going on holidays or even a day trip, make sure you stay informed while you're away. Observe local fire restrictions, tune into ABC local radio for emergency information and warnings, and ensure your holiday accommodation is summer fire safe (gutters cleared, trimmed gardens) and has a working smoke alarm. Before leaving home, don't forget to switch off all non-essential equipment and appliances.
Summer holidays are meant to be fun, so make sure you stay safe when you're on the roads on the way to your holiday destination. Vehicles provide very limited protection from radiant heat.
In the event of a bushfire, visibility is likely to be reduced and roads may be blocked. If you are caught in a vehicle, you should pull over into a clear space, remain inside, keep low and use woollen blankets for cover.
On severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger days, consider making your home available to friends or relatives who have decided to take the safest option, and leave early, so they're not in a bushfire area at the time of highest risk.
Also, if you have elderly or disabled relatives or neighbours, why not make the offer to assist them in preparing their property for the summer fire season?
Aside from getting your property and yourself prepared, you can also get involved by helping at local clean up days in nearby parks. Make sure you read the local newspaper for Council updates or call for information about community days and park committees (friends groups) you can join in your local area.
If you have a property which is at a higher risk of being affected by fire, make sure you take action and get involved. It's important to get involved where you live and where you have your property or holiday home.
The Fire Danger Rating tells you how dangerous a fire would be if one started. It helps you to know when conditions are dangerous enough to put your bushfire survival plan into action.
Ratings are forecast using Bureau of Meteorology data for up to four days in advance, based on weather and other environmental conditions such as fuel load. The rating is your prompt to take action to stay safe. For more information on fire ratings, visit the CFA web page.
For information about what you may do or may not do during total fire bans, visit the CFA warnings and restrictions web page.
To check the fire ratings in the area you are visiting, visit the CFA website.
If a large scale emergency occurs, to stay informed of fires occurring across the state:
Triple zero (000) should only be dialled to report an emergency; it should not be called for information requests.
379-397 Whitehorse Road, Nunawading, Victoria 3131Australia
Tel: (03) 9262 6333 Fax: (03) 9262 6490Email: firstname.lastname@example.org