How to prevent wildfires? The Australian Guidelines for burning vegetation
These guidelines provide fire users with information to plan, prepare and conduct:
• Fuel reduction burns
• Stubble burns
• Burning of piles heaps and windrows
• Prescribed fires
Before you start, if you are not prepared, not confident, not equipped or not experienced, you should consider other options for fuel reduction. These options include slashing, mowing, ploughing or grazing. You may slash and rake the vegetation into heaps or piles which are easier and safer to burn. Further, you may choose to contact your local fire brigade for advice or assistance in conducting the burn. If you decide fire is the best method for fuel reduction, this document will provide information and guidelines that should enable you to achieve a safe and satisfactory outcome.
Your Property – Your Responsibility
Your local brigade will be quite happy to provide advice, but they are under no obligation to provide assistance. If you request the brigade to assist with the burn, an agreement between you and the brigade must be signed (Notice of Responsibility – Appendix A). In many areas the local council’s weed officer will be able to advise you about maximising the effectiveness of the burn for weed control which may provide long term benefits. If after considering the options you decide to carry out the burn, the following information may be of assistance.
Your Fire – Your Responsibility
A fire burning on your property is your responsibility regardless of who lit it and whether a fire permit period has been declared or not. During a fire permit period you will require approval to light a fire for the purpose of clearing vegetation. This approval takes the form of a Fire Permit issued by a local Fire Permit Officer and is only issued for burning vegetation.
In most cases the Permit Officers are volunteers and may not be available during working hours. Planning your burn and obtaining a permit in advance will eliminate the inconvenience of not being able to obtain a permit at short notice.
Provided you meet the conditions on your Permit and take all reasonable steps to keep the fire on your property you are protected against any liability for damage caused by that fire should it escape.
If you are assisted by the local brigade, you will be required to obtain a Permit in your name (if in a fire permit period) and sign a Notice of Responsibility (Appendix A).
Once the brigade has completed its agreed tasks and handed over it is up to you to undertake any action noted on the Notice of Responsibility.
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