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A CFA spokeswoman said total fire bans were designed to minimise fire risk, but it was also recognised that many farmers are also CFA volunteers firefighters who have in-depth knowledge and experience fighting fires. Source: The Weekly Times

Guidelines for machinery use are outlined in the CFA brochure Can I, Can’t I which can be found at cfa.vic.gov.au

It poses the question, “Can I use self-propelled farm machinery, tractors, slashers, earthmoving, excavating or roadmaking machines propelled by a heat engine within 9 metres of any crops, grass, stubble, weeds, undergrowth or other vegetation?”

The response is, “During fire danger period, yes. But only if the machinery:

  • IS FREE from faults and mechanical defects that could cause an outbreak of fire;
  • IS FITTED with a spark arrester in working order (unless it is fitted with a turbocharger or an exhaust aspirated air-cleaner);
  • CARRIES fire suppression equipment comprising either at least one 9 litre knapsack spray pump, in working order, fully charged with water, or at least one water (stored pressure) fire extinguisher, in working order, fully charged with water and maintained at the correct pressure, with a capacity of at least 9 litres.

The spark arrester, the knapsack spray pump and the water fire extinguisher referred to above must comply with Australian Standards.”

The brochure said that on total fire ban days, the response was the same, but “if possible, postpone this work as the risk of starting fires is extremely high”.