Bushfire season starts with grass fire warning

The ACT Emergency Services Agency is warning that grass growth due to recent rain could increase the risk of fast-moving grass fires this summer.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Mick Gentleman joined ESA Commissioner Georgeina Whelan to announce that the bushfire season will officially commence on 1 November, one month later than the traditional start date of 1 October.

“The ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) delayed the start of the bushfire season due to recent rain lowering the risk of bushfires during spring,” Minister Gentleman said.

“We anticipate the bushfire risk will remain low throughout November and December. However, when the grass begins to cure over summer this will bring an unwelcome threat of grass fires.

“The ESA will be placing several ACTRFS vehicles out of their traditional rural sheds and into strategically placed locations around Canberra during high-risk periods.”

Commissioner Whelan urged homeowners to work with fire agencies and rural land holders by preparing for the fire season, highlighting that we cannot be complacent despite forecasts for a wet start to the fire season.

“Bush and grass fires can strike at any time and it is vitally important to be prepared”, Commissioner Whelan said.

“Update your bushfire survival plan and have the conversation with your family about what you will do during a fire – including how you will stay informed, when you will leave, what you’ll take.

“We always try to prepare for the worst, that way we are ready for anything.

“ACTRFS have been working with rural land holders to ensure they are prepared for the upcoming season by conducting hazard reduction burns and updating farm bushfire plans.

“Farm bushfire plans are vital should we need to access these properties in the case of a fire protection. They use this information to understand what assets require immediate protection, the firefighting resources available on the property and the mapping of the property”.

From the 1st November rural land holders must obtain a free permit from ACTRFS before conducting hazard reductions, including pile burning. To apply for a permit call 6207 8609 or send an email request to rfs@act.gov.au.

For information and tips on how you can prepare for this bushfire season, visit www.esa.act.gov.au