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While fire is a year round risk, fire season over long hot summers in Australia poses a significant threat to anyone living in rural or semi-rural locations, including small farms.
Large bushfire events across our country have caused devastating damage and loss of life, with the trauma of these events lasting for years. Before the hot, dry weather hits you need to have a plan in place to manage the risk of fire to your property, machinery, livestock and especially your loved ones by having a fire management plan in place.
Some of the actions to consider mitigating against fire before summer completely takes hold are:
Having a written survival plan that takes into account everyone on your farm, or at the very least having a discussion about your actions in the event of bushfire.
Preparing fire breaks around buildings, crops, pasture, storage areas, along fences and other exposures.
Moving any flammable material away from buildings, including cleaning gutters and trimming branches. Get rid of leaves and sticks raked up during the year. Check with your local fire authority when small controlled burns can be done to dispose of green waste.
Storing fuel and other chemicals safely away in a shed.
Ensuring firefighting equipment is in good condition and easily accessible in the event of fire
Identifying where livestock can be moved during fires.
Checking your water sources for fire fighting.
Paying close attention to daily fire conditions and requirements, such as machinery or equipment you are prohibited from operating during a total fire ban (e.g. chainsaws, lawnmowers, bee smokers)
It's your responsibility to maintain fire breaks on your farm - your local council or shire will be able to inform you about your specific requirements such as how wide your firebreak needs to be. Ideally it will be big enough to protect your property and provide access for a vehicle.
To create simple fire breaks on a small farm you can follow these steps:
Use a whipper snipper to cut back long grass along fence lines.
Use weed killer around wooden fence stumps and posts to kill grass at their base.
Churn up dirt along the fire break using a tiller.
Check all gates can open and close to allow access to and exit from your property, in case fire blocks off a route.
Stay safe this fire season by planning ahead on your small farm.
The NSW Rural Fire Service has published a comprehensive guide Farm FireWise: Checklist and Action Plan. Check with your local shire or council for sources of local fire safety information.
|Tags: The FARM Co Farm Safety Fire Equipment General Farm Small Farm Management|