Saturday, December 19, 2015

Total fire ban all weekend

TWO consecutive days of Total Fire Ban have been declared for the Northern and Southern Regions of the state from midnight on Friday, December 18, until midnight on Sunday, December 20.

Municipalities within these regions include: Brighton, Derwent Valley, Hobart, Sorell, Central Highlands, Glamorgan Spring Bay, Huon Valley, Southern Midlands, Clarence, Glenorchy, Kingborough, Tasman, Break O'Day, George Town, Northern Midlands, Dorset, Launceston, West Tamar, Flinders, and Meander Valley.

Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Gavin Freeman said warm weather is expected over the weekend and vegetation across the state is quickly drying. As a result, bushfires can start easily and develop quickly into large fires that are difficult to control. Conditions can rapidly change and people need to be ready to act.

On days of Total Fire Ban, all outdoor fires are banned except electric stoves and barbecues, and gas stoves and barbecues, provided they are cleared of flammable material for at least three metres. All barbecues, portable stoves, pizza ovens etc that use wood, charcoal, heat beads or other solid or liquid fuel are banned.

This ban includes the use of cutting, grinding, welding or other similar equipment in the open, as well as machine harvesting activities.

Mr Freeman added that members of the community who had fires on their properties recently need to check the fire is completely extinguished, and regularly check the fire over the weekend. "This means turning the coals over to ensure there are no hot spots, and dowsing the coals with water if required," Mr Freeman said. "This will help stop hot embers being blown into unburnt vegetation, as well as preventing the spread of fire through underground root systems."

While the Total Fire Ban is in place people are asked to avoid non-essential water use. Turning off sprinkler systems and using hoses sparingly will help ensure that water is available for firefighting and protecting properties should it be required.

Mr Freeman said everyone living in and around the bush need to review their Bushfire Survival Plan now and be prepared to implement that plan if required. Details on how to prepare a Bushfire Survival Plan, preparing your property for bushfires, or other fire safety tips can be found from the front page of the TFS website www.fire.tas.gov.au

"There are significant penalties that can be imposed on anyone not adhering to the Total Fire Ban restrictions," Mr Freeman said.

People should monitor the TFS website www.fire.tas.gov.au to keep up-to-date with conditions and listen to the local ABC radio station.

All fires should be reported by dialling Triple Zero (000).

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