Now that summer has begun, the fire season begins also. A little thought about fire prevention can save lives and thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Don't think that our strange spells of wet weather mean the danger is lower. Brief periods of heavy rain help the grass to grow, but then it dries quickly in the warmer days following.
You can make your own home safe from fire by following a few simple steps.
Keep the grass on your property cut low
Tidy up twigs and leaves in your garden
Clear your gutters
Prune back foliage that is close to your house, with a 10m space if possible
Make sure your hoses are in good condition
Check that your smoke alarms are in good working order
Set up a fire plan with your household
If you see a fire in an open area, such as a park or paddock, ring 000 to report it immediately. Don't approach such fires, because they can spread very quickly.
Remember that many fires are started by simple, innocent activity, such as throwing away a burning cigarette, or sparks from cutting or grinding equipment.
Be especially cautious on total fire ban days, and regularly check www.vic.gov.au/emergencies-safety.html for warnings. Lighting a fire on a total fire ban day is illegal, and can attract a fine of around $37,000 or up to two years in jail.
For more information about fire safety in the metropolitan area, visitwww.mfb.vic.gov.au. If you are planning to travel, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au.