Fire season triggers warning to heed bans

THE Shire of Kalamunda is reminding residents that the prohibited burning period comes into effect from December 1 to March 31, 2016. Residents need to stay prepared and be aware of all fire bans during this time.

Residents are urged to visit the Shire website prior to using any machinery during this period to check if a harvest and vehicle movement ban or a total fire ban are in place, and to familiarise themselves with what each ban entails.

Shire President Andrew Waddell said it was vital residents understood the definition of a harvest and vehicle movement ban, and that when in place a ban applied to all property owners in the Shire, not just rural property owners.

“Harvest and vehicle movement bans are generally issued on very hot and/or windy days when the risk of starting a fire, or a fire being difficult to control, is much higher than normal. This ban may be issued at any time, especially if fire resources are stretched,” Cr Waddell said.

“It is each resident’s responsibility to be aware of any bans in place before undertaking an agricultural or machinery activity, to avoid any possibility of starting a fire. Fines may be issued if a property owner or occupier is not compliant.”

A harvest and vehicle movement ban may be imposed for any length of time but is generally imposed for the ‘heat of the day’ periods and may be extended or revoked by the local government as and when weather conditions change.

Activities considered likely to cause a fire are:

n The use or operation of any engine, vehicle, plant equipment or machinery on land where there is bush or which is under crop pasture or stubble (predominantly these are imposed in rural wheat belt areas for harvesting operations. However, they also extend to the urban interface and South-West communities for movement of vehicles and off-road bikes and the use of chainsaws and the like in bushlands and open paddocks).

n Operating of welding apparatus and power-operated abrasive cutting discs

n The activities likely to cause a fire extend beyond the few mentioned.

The responsibility remains on individuals to ensure that any activity underway is not likely to start a fire and that a harvest and vehicle movement ban is currently not in place in the Shire.

To find out if a ban has been imposed check the Shire website or contact the Shire.

A total fire ban (TFB) is declared because of extreme weather conditions or when widespread fires are seriously stretching firefighting resources.

It is declared by the Minister for Emergency Services on advice from DFES after consultation with relevant local shire councils that may be affected.

The ban includes all open fires for the purpose of cooking or camping. It also includes incinerators, welding, grinding, soldering or gas cutting.

Further information including active total fire bans can be found at this link.