Residents urged to get on the front foot before fire danger season

PREPARATION: Fire prevention officer for Tatiara District Council Adrian Packer checking fuel loads at various sites around Bordertown.
PREPARATION: Fire prevention officer for Tatiara District Council Adrian Packer checking fuel loads at various sites around Bordertown.

With the fire danger season fast approaching, Tatiara residents are being encouraged to make sure their properties are well maintained.

Fire prevention officer for Tatiara District Council Adrian Packer is already on the lookout for potential properties that may be at risk.

"In preparation for the fire season, which starts on November 15, I am going around all the towns, concentrating on vacant blocks, but also including untidy house allotments," Mr Packer said.

"Under our bushfire management plan I'll be inspecting those and sending out notices - and if the property owners fail to comply, council can get the work done and that cost issued to the property."

Many landowners may be unaware that there is a height that their grass must be below prior and during the fire season.

"What our requirements are is that the properties have the grass slashed to under 100 millimetres prior to the start of the fire danger season (FDS)," Mr Packer said.

"That length needs to be maintained for the entire fire season."

"We can get late rains and the grass grows, and soon as it grows past the 100 millimetres they're in breach of the notice."

Mr Packer said once the vegetation eventually dries out, it can create significant danger.

"From now on, the vegetation will start to dry out and that creates a fire hazard for the neigbourhood and the entire town," Mr Packer said.

"I'll be getting around the towns a month before the fire season and inspecting those and sending out notices, so if residents have concerns about properties in their area they can certainly contact me."

While there is always a concern going into any fire season, a number of factors have made this year more worrisome.

"We are concerned especially this year with the good start to the season which prompts good grass growth," Mr Packer said.

"And now we've got the extra issue of COVID, with a lot of absentee landowners who are interstate, they're not going to be able to attend their properties and mow it themselves."

Mr Packer assured interstate landowners who are unable to enter into South Australia, that they can be provided with a list of mowing contractors in the Tatiara area.

With preparation crucial to preventing a dangerous fire season, those who fail to comply with the strict regulations run the risk of receiving a fine.

There are numerous small things that residents can do now to make their properties safe.

"I encourage land owners to be looking at their blocks and start cleaning up gutters, clearing dead trees and other vegetation in preparation for the fire season," Mr Packer said.

"Cleaning it up now will make it much easier closer to the start of the fire danger season.

"Owners have green bins that they can put cuttings into, and if they have a trailer load, they can take it to the transfer station for free."

Residents who are have any concerns in regards to the upcoming fire season can contact Adrian Packer on: 0427 191 755.