Did you know that as an owner of a property you have a duty to prevent the occurrence or spread of fire through land, whether you're a residential or rural block owner with a dwelling or even vacant land. This is part of the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (Part3 Division 8 and Part 4 Division 7 and 8).
The SA Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 (Country Fire Service part) states under Section 105F that -
(1) An owner of private land must take reasonable steps-
(a) to prevent or inhibit the outbreak of fire on the land; and
(b) to prevent or inhibit the spread of fire through the land; and
(c) to protect property on the land from fire; and
(d) to minimise the threat to human life from a fire on the land.
Maximum penalty: $5,000.
Throughout the year it is always time to look at measures that can be implemented for the protection of life and property through fire prevention measures. Ensure that all flammable material are cleared from around dwellings; rural properties ensuring proper land management principles are adhered to, to stop the spread of fire through their property while adhering to the Native Vegetation Act for fire breaks etc.
In the Garden and around the home:
Rural Living - On rural properties, prepare and maintain fuel breaks around fence lines, buildings, equipment sheds, haystacks, hay sheds and fuel supplies.
Fuel reduction on vacant allotments greater than 0.03 hectares in size. It is considered that a mowed or slahed firebreak be constructed around the perimeter of the block of land to the minimum width of 4m. The flammable growth on the firebreak is to be maintained to maximum height of 10cms for the duration of the fire danger season. However this is only a guideline.
Council is involved in a township clearance program which starts around October each year, this involves inspection of township and some rural allotments, under the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 section 105F.
Council can issue a Section 105F notice if :
'a Council believes that the conditions on private land in a fire district are as such as to cause an unreasonable risk of the outbreak of fire on the land, or spread of fire through the land, due to the presence of flammable undergrowth or other flammable or combustiblematerials or substances'.
It is the Landowners responsibility to comply with the Act. Failure to comply with a notice can now incur an expiation of $160, plus the recovery cost of council carrying out the work required by that notice.
It is recommended that property owners keep the height of grass on their property to a maximum height of 10 centimetres for the entire fire danger season.
On days of extreme weather conditions Fire Bans may be declared for the Riverland and other areas in the State. To determine whether a fire ban has been imposed, phone the CFS Hotline on 1300 362 361
Fire Ban Season starts 15th November to 15th April each year unless otherwise stated.
During the Fire Danger Season almost all fires in the open require permits. Applications for permits can be made at the Berri Office, Wilson Street, Berri during business hours.
Fires not requiring permits, other than on aTotal Fire Ban day include:
All fires are prohibited on a total fire ban day unless a permit has been issued. However permits will only be issued in special circumstances. Note: Electric welders, mechanical cutting tools and gas appliances require a permit before they can be used in the open on a day of a total fire ban.
The penalty for lighting a fire in the open without a permit on a total fire ban day is $10,000.
No permits will be issued during the Fire Danger Season for the use of shopgoods or fireworks. Permits will be issued to a licenced pyrotechnist for fireworks used in association with community events.
Persons who have obtained a permit and fail to comply with any of the conditions imposed may be refused future permit applications and will be responsible for all CFS and Police costs.
Persons may operate a gas or electric element for cooking purposes in the open air contrary to terms of a total fire ban in the following areas:
The operation of gas fire or electric elements in declared areas is subject to the following conditions: