CFA warns of operating machinery in summer

The CFA has issued a stern warning to the public to follow its “Can I, Can’t I” rules when operating vehicles in dry grass during the fire danger period. Source: The Courier (Ballarat)

It follows a grass fire in Davenport Road, Weatherboard, which began about 11am in a private farm paddock and was contained by midday.

Twelve crews from around the region attended, along with the helicopter located at Ballarat Airport.

However, it flared up again mid-afternoon, with several crews still mopping up until 4pm.

CFA District 15 operations manager Anthony Pearce said it was “critically important” the farm machinery guidelines were followed.

“You need to minimise activity in long, dry grass and carry fire suppression equipment at all times,” Mr Pearce said. “You also need to make sure your equipment is in good working order.

“Fires starting from negligence are an unnecessary drain on CFA resources.”

Mr Pearce said it had been a relatively quiet fire season so far but added the aircrafts would be a valuable fire fighting asset if a bushfire started in the region.

“They’ll become a lot more utilised and the impact on the fire ground will be readily noticeable when fighting fires.”

The CFA rules state that, during the fire danger period, self-propelled farm machinery can only be used within nine metres of grass, crops, weeds, stubble, undergrowth or vegetation if it is free from faults and mechanical defects, is fitted with a spark arrester in working order, a turbocharger or

exhaust aspirated air cleaner and fire suppression equipment is carried.

During a total fire ban day, the use of farm machinery should be avoided wherever possible.