EFFORTS to reduce fire hazards on properties in Ararat have improved this bushfire season, with a 30 per cent drop in fire prevention notices issued compared to last year.
Ararat Rural City Council issues clean-up notices to residents whose properties pose fire risks.
Those risks may include gutters full of debris, long dry grass, rubbish stacks and abandoned vehicles, and branches overhanging buildings.
This season the council issued 98 clean-up notices compared to 150 the previous season.
"Our Fire Prevention Officers knock on doors and help people understand what they need to do to comply with the law and it's clear this approach is working with the numbers of notices issued ... summer season dropping substantially."
Not complying with a notice within 21 days can incur a hefty fine of $1652 but Dr Harrison said the council preferred to educate residents rather than fine them.
"We are very much focused on education and negotiation rather than fining property owners straight away," he said. "Our Fire Prevention Officers knock on doors and help people understand what they need to do to comply with the law and it's clear this approach is working with the numbers of notices issued over the 2019/20 summer season dropping substantially."
Ararat is surrounded by bush and District 16 operations officer Neville Collins said it was prone to spotting.
Spotting is when a fire ember will get into the upper winds and travel several kilometres before being dropped down.
"So you've got your initial ember attack from a fire that's right there at your urban rural interface but your severe fires have a potential of spotting kilometres ahead of the fire front, depending on winds," he said.
"So at that urban rural interface you need to be sure you're doing your housekeeping. Do your cleaning, have your lawns green if you can. If you've got a green crop or outlook, that's going to help you. If you've got dry moisture content in your fuel then that's going to be more susceptible to burning."
Dr Harrison said some things residents should do to ensure their properties are ready for fire season include:
- Cutting grass and undergrowth near structures to less than 100mm in height
- Creating six metre bare-earth breaks or 20-metre wide slashed or grazed area around dwellings
- Any property that adjoins a township should have a six metre bare-earth break or 10 metre to 20 metre fuel-reduced break to allow fire vehicle access.
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