Operation fire shield underway

Operation fire shield underway

26 July 2006

published by http://armidale.yourguide.com.au

Residents of Armidale, Guyra, Walcha and Uralla can help save their homes and families from bushfire by identifying bushfire hazards on their own property and in their neighbourhood as part of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Operation Fire Shield.

“Eighty per cent of properties damaged in bushfires are within 100m of hazards such as bush, scrub and grass. Other homes are at risk because hazards such as leaf litter haven’t been cleaned up and can catch alight from flying embers,” said superintendent Steve Mepham.

“During Operation Fire Shield we encourage residents to identify those hazards and treat them now so you can be confident you are prepared for bushfire.

“Take some time to look around your property for things that could potentially catch fire and prepare a bushfire survival plan for your family determining who would stay and who would go early,” he continued.

“The RFS also has a system for people to report any bushfire hazards on other property they are concerned about. Call 1800 NSW RFS (1800 679 737) or go to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au to register a complaint about a hazard to be inspected by the RFS.”

A bushfire hazard exists where bushfire fuel, terrain, weather conditions and assets such as houses, farms, environmental and cultural sites combine.

Bushfire fuels include:

* Fine, dry fuels such as leaf litter, undergrowth, long grass, mulch, stubble

* Woodpiles, sheds, cubby houses, stacked flammables

* Continuous vegetation leading to a building or other asset

* Anywhere embers can lodge – roof and floor space, vents, decking, gutters

* Ground fuels can be more concerning than trees as fire is sustained by fuel on the ground. Crown fires in tree tops only occur when ground fuels support them.

Bushfire hazards include:

* Areas where these bushfire fuels are next to or can affect property/assets

* Human response to fire. Are you prepared? Have you got a bushfire survival plan in place defining who will stay to defend property and who will leave early and safely?

* Weather – on very hot, dry, windy days be prepared for fire to start and spread

* Water supplies – do you have water, hoses, pumps, electricity?

* Road and trail access – can you and fire tankers get in and out?

Ask the RFS for advice on the best method of hazard reduction, and how to do it safely and legally by using RFS guidelines and getting the right permits and approvals.

You can also get ‘fire wise’ so you and your family know how to prepare and respond to bushfire. Ask the RFS about ‘fire wise’ education programs and publications.

For more information contact the RFS New England Zone office on 67712400 or visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.


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