Council will be posting advisory letters next week to Northern Grampians Shire vacant landholders and property owners who received a Fire Prevention Notice last year, as a reminder to prepare for the upcoming fire season.
The letter will advise property owners to take every effort to reduce the risk of fire to their property, neighbouring land, and the community as a whole. A Frequently Asked Questions sheet will accompany the advisory letter to provide more information about Fire Prevention Notices.
Simple steps outlined in the letter are centred on reducing the fuel load to minimise the threat of fire. This includes maintaining grass and weeds to less than 10cm high, raking up leaves and bark, pruning and removing rubbish and garden waste.
It is important to note that these are not one-off activities and landholders have a responsibility to regularly maintain their properties throughout the fire season to keep the risk of fire low.
Council officers will be inspecting private properties throughout November to ensure property owners and residents are meeting their fire prevention responsibilities.
If it becomes apparent that maintenance work has not been undertaken, landowners can expect to be served with a Fire Prevention Notice specifying what needs to be done to reduce the fire risk on their property.
Non-adherence to the requirements in the notice could result in the landholder being issued with a hefty $1,652 infringement notice and wearing the cost of contractors undertaking the necessary fire reduction work at their property.
Council has the legal right to act on and remove a fire hazard on private land where necessary and issue an additional administration fee for the works.
Northern Grampians Shire Mayor, Cr Murray Emerson, said it was important that landholders paid heed to these advisory letters and made sure their properties were free of fire hazards before the commencement of the fire season.
“It is council’s responsibility to ensure the fire risk in the shire is reduced and the community is as protected as possible from the threat of fire,” he said.
“There is a high chance of above average rainfall this spring which means that grass and weeds will take off if they are not maintained and the risk of fire within the community will be greater. Landholders will need to constantly work at minimising their property fuel load throughout the fire season.”
“I am particularly concerned to learn that 145 landholders in the shire received a Fire Prevention Notice in the 2019/20 Fire Danger Period.”
“Let’s hope that number is much less this year and we are all on top of our fire prevention obligations before we enter into a new fire season for the safety of our entire community.”