When does the fire danger season begin?
The Peterborough Council is located within the Flinders fire district. In most years, the fire danger season commences 1 November and ends at midnight 15 April. However, due to the extremely dry conditions the season will begin on 21st October 2019 and may be extended under the direction of the Chief Officer of SA Country Fire Service.
What is a Total Fire Ban?
The SA Country Fire Service may declare Total Fire Bans in some fire ban districts or even across the whole state on days when extreme weather conditions (high wind and high temperature) could cause fires to become uncontrollable.
These bans are broadcast on radio and television from 6.00pm the night before and will apply for 24 hours from midnight to midnight the following day. If extreme weather conditions develop suddenly, a Total Fire Ban could be announced as late as 7.00am on the morning of the ban.
During a Total Fire Ban Day burning in the open and the use of tools such as welders, grinders and some barbecues are strictly prohibited without a Schedule 10 permit issued from Council. It is important to know not only which fire ban district you live in but also which one you are visiting.
The penalties for illegally lighting a fire during a total fire ban are severe. You face the possibility of incurring a fine of up to $20,000 or imprisonment for up to four (4) years.
Can I use tools such as angle grinders, welders or other cutting tools outside during the fire danger season?
Yes. These tools can be used during the fire danger season providing you have a four metre cleared space around the work area and water or an extinguisher at hand. A responsible person must be present whilst the tools are in use.
On a total fire ban day, the use of these tools is not permitted without a Schedule 10 permit.
Can I use a chainsaw brushcutter, mower or slasher on a total fire ban day?
Yes. These tools can be used during a total fire ban day providing:
- The exhaust pipe is fitted with an efficient spark arrester, and;
- There is a four (4) metre area clear of all flammable material, around and above the work area, or;
- The operator has a shovel or rake and a portable fire extinguisher on hand.
However, due to the high risks involved with using any machinery in situations which present a risk of a fire outbreak, it is wise to consider postponing any such activity to a non-total fire ban day, wherever possible.
How can I obtain a permit to light a fire during the fire danger season or on a total fire ban day?
Permits can be issued in person or over the phone by an authorised officer. To obtain a permit, contact Council on 8651 3566 to speak to the Council’s Fire Prevention Officer.
Generally permits for the burning of rubbish will not be issued during the fire danger season. Permits issued for the use of tools such as welders or grinders will be assessed individually and may carry strict conditions attached to the permit.
What can I do to prepare for the fire danger season?
It is wise to think about fire prevention around your home and property throughout the year or at least well before the fire danger season begins. All property owners in the Council area should ensure their homes are properly prepared and their families have bushfire plans in place.
Property owners must be bushfire ready. Being bushfire ready means having a bushfire action plan and knowing whether you would go early or stay and defend your property in the event of a fire.
Reducing the amount of fuel on a property is one of the most important components of preparing for bushfires. Before the fire season begins it is recommended to:
- Remove dead branches, leaves and undergrowth from around your home
- Prune tree limbs of mature trees to about two metres above the ground
- Prune branches overhanging the home
- Cut long grass within 20 metres of the home and within four metres of other structures and fence lines
- Remove bark, heavy mulch, wood piles and other flammable materials close to the home and sheds
- Regularly clean gutters and remove any leaves or bark which may be clogging the gutter
Please visit the CFS website and view their Prepare Act Survive fact sheets for more detailed information and guidance.
Clearing of flammable material from your property
All property owners have a responsibility to ensure that their property or vacant allotment does not present an unreasonable risk of the outbreak or spread of fire due to the presence of flammable undergrowth or other flammable or combustible material.
If in the opinion of Council a property contains excessive flammable undergrowth or other flammable material, a notice may be issued to the property owner requiring certain work to be carried out, which may include reducing the height of all grass on the property to less than 10cm.
Should the work specified in the notice not be carried out within the required time frame, Council may arrange for the work to be carried out and recover any costs incurred from the property owner, as if they were rates in arrears. Council may also issue an expiation notice to any person who fails to comply with the requirements of a fuel reduction notice.
More information on bushfire action plans and tips to protect your property can be obtained from the CFS website http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au/ Alternatively, contact the Council’s Fire Prevention Officer on 8651 3566 for more information.
Fire Danger Ratings
To help you assess your level of bushfire risk and action to take, it is important that you understand the Fire Danger Ratings.
These ratings are forecast by the Bureau of Meteorology each day during the fire danger season and are an early indicator of the potential danger, should a bushfire start. The higher the Fire Danger Rating, the more dangerous the fire conditions.
The Fire Danger Rating chart will assist you to understand the predicted bushfire behaviour, potential impacts and recommended actions you should take for each category level.
The Fire Danger Rating is not a predictor of how likely a bushfire is to occur, but how dangerous it could be if it did occur. It should be used as an early indicator to trigger your plans. For more information and to see the CFS Fire Danger Rathing Chart or view a fact sheet visit the CFS website.
What Can I Do / What Can't I Do - CFS Fact Sheet
Please visit the CFS Website and view their fact sheet for more detailed information.