Grass poses fire threat

PIA VAN STRAALEN
Grass poses fire threat

The Southern Wheatbelt has been assessed as having normal fire potential this bushfire season, but, according to a Southern Australia outlook fire report, large amounts of grass lands could be responsible for future ignitions.

The Bushfire Co-operative Research Centre report stated abundant grass growth inland from above-average rainfall and the sharp increase in temperature had resulted in a fuel build-up of grasslands in the region.

However, the report stated the potential fire outlook remained normal for this summer.

The Statewide fire ban — which came into effect on November 1 and will continue through until April — spurred the Water Corporation to encourage farmers who choose to stay and defend their homes to replenish an independent water supply.

Water Corporation Great Southern regional manager David Hughes-Owen said those who would choose to stay and defend must be fully prepared.

“If you choose to stay and defend your home you need to fully assess and plan for you water needs, independent of public water supplies,” he said.

Mr Hughes-Owen said during extreme temperature water pressure was low and public water tanks could dry up quickly.

The Town of Narrogin has begun taking measures to reduce potential fires by auditing multiple properties in town.

Property owners and residents have been encouraged to spray back grass and reduce fuel loads.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Narrogin area officer Simon Vogel encouraged people to prepare their properties early.

Home owners are encouraged to install a radiation fence, avoid piling wood near the house, block floor gaps, and rake and discard of dry litter such as leaves.

Mr Vogel also recommended homeowners stay vigilant and be prepared by listening out for warnings on the radio.

“Fires happen without notice near your home and there’s no time to get prepared so you need to already be prepared,” he said.

“On days with high fire potential, be aware of your surroundings.”