Commissioner warns of summer bushfire risk

VEGETATION growth caused by Canberra’s wet spring, leaves the ACT vulnerable to higher risks of bushfires this summer, says Emergency Services commissioner, Dominic Lane.

Time to prepare for the bushfire season.

Time to prepare for the bushfire season.

“Recent wet weather may have delayed the start of the bushfire season this year by one month, but our message remains the same, it’s time to get ready now,” he says.

The slow start hasn’t cut the season short and it might drag on longer than usual, according to the “Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2016”.

Lane says: “The wet weather has resulted in a lot of fresh growth around the ACT which, when drier, hotter conditions arrive, will mean extra fuel for bushfires.

“A well-prepared home or business is far more likely to survive a bushfire and there’s plenty you can do to make that happen.

 “Simple things like cleaning up around the backyard, especially in corners where leaves and other debris have collected can drastically reduce the risk of fire from ember attack.”

ActewAGL branch manager works delivery, Clinton McAlister says there are many backyard measures that we should do to be prepared to get safely through the six-month bushfire season.

“Trees are a spectacular part of our region, but when they’re too close to powerlines they can fall and damage our electricity network. Unfortunately, this can lead to unplanned power outages as well as increase the risk of bushfires,” he says.

“When trees and other vegetation are at least 1.5 metres clear of powerlines, it reduces the risk of outages and bushfires, which means a safer and more comfortable summer for everyone.

“As homeowners and occupiers are responsible for trees in their backyard, they should check whether branches are too close to powerlines and contact an ActewAGL-accredited tree surgeon, who is qualified to trim the trees safely. Please don’t do it yourself, it is just too dangerous.

“During a bushfire, power outages may occur so it’s important to build this into your emergency plan. It’s a good idea to have a home safety kit in case there’s a power outage. The kit should include a torch, batteries, battery-powered radio and first aid supplies.”

Information on fire bans, weather warnings and fire danger ratings via esa.act.gov.au 

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