Warning wet spring brings increased fire risks

10 January 2023


It is important for farmers to be prepared for the potential risks of the fire season, especially following a wet spring.

The permit period is in effect but should not stop farmers from doing controlled burns, it is of course necessary to obtain a permit and follow guidelines from the permit officer or from the Tasmanian Fire Service.

In addition, it is important to be aware that a wet spring may result in a later fire season, with dry grass and a high risk of fine fuels in the summer months.

Ian Sauer president of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers and Chairperson of the State Fire Management Council said farmers should if they haven’t already, be preparing and making sure that long grass around sheds and infrastructure is kept down or cut short.

Mr Sauer said, “History tells us when we’ve had a wet spring there is going to be a lot of dry grass later in the summer. And dry grass equals fine fuels, and they are really combustible and dangerous”.

“Farmers need to have a fire plan, they don’t have to get too excited, but they must have a plan. If you don’t have a plan, you have a plan to fail”.

It is important for farmers to ensure that all fire equipment is serviced and ready to use for the current fire season, they should test fire pumps and check their fuel supply to ensure they are ready to go if the need arises.

Mr Sauer said, “additionally, farmers should begin planning for fuel reduction burns beyond this fire season and think about future fire seasons, It is also crucial for farmers to start planning for fuel reduction burns in 2023-2024, and if you’re unsure or uncertain contact Red Hot Tips for assistance if needed.”

“Red hot tips are, I promise you, a one-stop shop for farmers in helping them organise fuel reduction. Ring them and up, they’ll come out and see you. Mr Sauer said.

(Simply google red hot tips or click here to find out more).

“The other great resource farmers should keep an eye on is the Tas Alert page,” (Click here to visit the TASALERT website).

“Farmers should also know that the fire danger rating index has changed from 1 September 2022, and they should become familiar with the new fire danger rating index, which is less complicated than the old one,” he said.

This new system, which is used nationwide by fire and emergency services, includes consistent colours, signs, and terminology to make it easier for people to understand the level of threat and take appropriate safety measures, regardless of location or time of year.

The TFS explains the new system and offers practical advice for reducing the risk of fires on farms. Their guide to "Planned burning for ''Farmers and Landholders' is organised into clear, easy-to-follow chapters, in a simple easy-to-read format.

For further detailed Tasmanian-specific information on planning, please read the Tas Fire Services article: Tasmanian Farmers. Preparing for a bushfire summer after spring growth.

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