9 December 2020

Rural Fire Service urging residents to reduce risk by mowing grass now

| Sharon Kelley
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Long grass.

Residents are being urged to mow grass now before the risk of fire increases. Photo: Supplied.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Eurobodalla Shire Council are urging residents and landowners to mow or slash long grass now – especially on vacant blocks – to help reduce the risk of summer grass fires.

Higher than average spring rainfall has caused rapid grass growth across the Eurobodalla Shire, resulting in an increased fire risk as it dries out in the increasingly warmer summer weather.

NSW Rural Fire Service Far South Coast manager Superintendent John Cullen said grass fires can start easily and spread quickly.

“Grass fires pose a significant risk this fire season so please make sure you have cleared around your home or vacant blocks,” he said.

READ ALSO Residents urged to mow or slash grass now – before it’s too late

“As the summer progresses, it might become too risky to use slashers. You need to prepare well beforehand because leaving it to the last minute is too late.

“It only takes two days of hot, dry and windy weather to cure grass. Make sure you manage your property so you don’t become a fire risk to your community.”

The RFS advises five simple steps to prepare a property for bushfires:

  • Trimming overhanging trees and shrubs to stop the spread of fires.
  • Mowing grass and removing the cuttings to make a cleared area around your home.
  • Removing all material that might burn, such as wood piles.
  • Clearing debris from gutters to stop ember attacks taking hold.
  • Preparing a sturdy hose or hoses that can reach around your home, and making sure you’ve got a reliable source of water.

Mr Cullen also urged residents to make a bushfire survival plan.

READ ALSO Fire danger period starts early on NSW South Coast

“Plan what you will do if there’s a bush or grass fire near you,” he said. “Please discuss with your family what your actions will be, and stay informed.”

Council will be targeting non-resident ratepayers so they’re also reminded of their responsibilities.

Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Local Emergency Management Officer (LEMO) Warren Sharpe urged the community – including non-resident ratepayers – to work together.

“Planning and being prepared for disasters is a shared responsibility and we can all help,” he said.

“We already know there is a heightened level of anxiety within our community following the past summer. If we all prepare our properties well, especially vacant blocks, this will help reduce the fire risk and help the mental wellbeing of our community.

“Chatting with our neighbours about our bushfire survival plans, especially the elderly, is also a great thing to do so we can be ready to help each other in times of need.”

For more information and to prepare your fire plan, visit the NSW Government and Rural Fire Service website My Fire Plan.

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