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Clonbinane Rural Fire Brigade - November 2017

Lightning Strikes and Fire Breaks -TAKE a BREAK, Take a FIRE BREAK

On Christmas Eve last year there was a lightning strike and fire at Clonbinane on the Mountain. It was on private property in an area difficult to access due to high stony ridges with plenty of dead trees from the Black Saturday fire.


Lightning strikes are a big fire threat in our district. Some ignite into flames instantly whereas other lightning strikes can be sleepers and pop up days later in warm and windy conditions.


Fire breaks can reduce fire spread in low to moderate fire danger conditions. In a fire, trees, shrubs and tall grasses with large seed heads within 20 metres of a fire break can produce embers that cross the break (spotting), or under some conditions allow flames to cross the break. However these fire breaks allow faster access for fire-fighting vehicles and also produce a line of defence if back-burning is required. Recently a fire break was bulldozed on the same private land where the Xmas Eve fire was. That fire break now gives a 2 kilometres of east- west and a kilometre of north-south added protection to Spur Road residents, allowing quicker access to extinguish a fire before it gets a hold.


In open areas or paddocks consider putting fire breaks on your private land. This may be a better option where flying embers make treed roadsides the least suitable place for a fire break, or roadsides have a high conservation value. A 3 metres minimum mineral earth boundary fire break may stop a fire leaving your property or entering your property from neighbouring properties. Grass slashing and vehicles are often the cause of grass fires. A wide mineral earth fire break will give you added protection and reduce the risk of the fire spreading further.


Be vigilant at this time of the year for lightning strikes. Not only do they start grass fires but they can also start a structure or house fire. If you believe your home has been hit then check all appliances for damage near the socket. Check your TVs telephone equipment, modems etc. It is best to remove TV aerials and modems from their sockets if you are experiencing a thunderstorm. Also, remember to get off the phone; you may get an extremely large noise or a zap of electricity to make your hair curl during electrical storms.



Plan your property for the summer fire season

now. Clear gutters and provide a safe haven around your home. Recheck your gutters each month. Remove debris and firewood piles away from your house. Maintain your lawnmower, grass slasher/tractor, brush cutter, and chainsaw before use to ensure that they are not the cause of a fire starting in dry grass.

All the best with the mowing.


Ross Hibbert- Captain Clonbinane RFB