WITH some warmer weather finally on its way, Bass Coast Shire Council is asking property owners to prepare their properties for summer.
The council is working on a range of fire prevention activities in the lead up to summer and despite the recent rain, it’s important for residents to be prepared.
Property inspections have begun this month, and the council’s general manager of Healthy Communities and Governance, David Elder, said it is the responsibility of property owners to ensure their land is maintained throughout the year and doesn’t pose a risk to others.
“In instances where properties are not maintained, the council can issue a Notice to Comply, which requires property owners to cut long grass on their land,” Mr Elder said.
“If our Fire Prevention officers find the owner is clearly in breach of their responsibilities, however, they may be served with a Fire Prevention Notice.
“Fire Prevention Notices are only sent to properties where this process identifies a genuine threat of fire to life and property.”
Council officers will inspect vacant land in particular and will request that works to cut grass and tidy up blocks are completed by early December.
To assist with preparing properties, the council’s annual Green Waste Amnesty period runs until December 14.
“Residents and visitors are able to dispose of domestic-sized loads of green waste free of charge at Grantville Landfill, Wonthaggi and Inverloch Transfer Stations and Cowes Recycling Bank,” Mr Elder said.
“The council offers this service to encourage residents and holiday home owners to get ready for the fire season each year by removing overhanging limbs, dry leaves and cutting long grass, which they can dispose without charge at our local facilities.”
The council has also been inspecting its own land and has reviewed its fire prevention works plans for high risk coastal and bushland reserves, and the updated plans will be available on the council’s website in early December.
“These plans identify high risk vegetation in reserves and foreshores and work is underway on maintaining fire breaks, fire access tracks and to remove ground fuel in high risk areas,” Mr Elder said.
“We are doing this in a sensitive manner to reduce any adverse effect to native flora and fauna.”
Rural property owners considering burning off should have a copy of the council’s Rural Burning Off Guidelines to understand the precautions that must be taken.
These guidelines include information about important things to check before starting to burn off, such as the weather forecast and pile size restrictions.
They also let you know who you need to tell about the planned burn and what timelines apply, such as making sure you have notified adjoining landowners or neighbours 24 hours prior to burning off.
It’s also important that you ensure fire services are aware of your planned burn.
Please give the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) two hours’ notice (1800 668 511) before you start burning off, as this prevents an unnecessary fire brigade response.
You may also need to register your burn with the council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team if the area to be burnt abuts a residential area.
Burning off in residential areas is not allowed.
The council’s guidelines apply at all times, except for during the Fire Danger Period and on days of Total Fire Ban when burning off is prohibited.
The guidelines are available from council offices or downloadable from the council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/burningoff.
If you have any queries or concerns regarding the Rural Burning Off Guidelines, contact the Community Health and Wellbeing Team on 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or 5671 2211.