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Extreme fire risk warning issued for north-west Victoria

The CFA is warning the community, particularly farmers, about the extreme fire risk to the north-west parts of Victoria tomorrow.

November 28, 2012 4:42pm

Farmers and communities in north-west Victoria are urged to take care with extreme fire risk conditions expected tomorrow.

Starting tonight, the first Total Fire Ban for the Mallee and Wimmera districts begins for the season and tomorrow temperatures are expected to reach the 40s in some parts of the state.

The CFA is warning farmers and harvesting contractors planning on cropping or harvesting to be aware of their local conditions, particularly wind speeds, and to be extra vigilant in knowing when to shut down their machinery.

CFA District 2 operations manager Mark Gilmore said the most important thing was to take regular breaks to clear out grass, sticks and seeds that could become caught in airflow vents, stone guards and bash plates.

‘‘On top of that, don’t forget to regularly look behind you — hot exhausts can easily start fires as can sparks when machinery hits stones,’’ he said.

‘‘Extinguishers with the required nine-litre capacity should be fitted to every tractor or self-propelled header, and harvesters and other large machinery should also be equipped with a shovel.

‘‘If you havent done it already, now is also a good time to check that your firefighting equipment is on hand and is in good working order.’’

The CFA have prepared a checklist for farmers on days of extreme fire risk.

Farmers should:

Make sure headers are checked and cleaned before starting work and repeat this every hour;

Postpone unnecessary or non-essential work;

Make sure they have firefighting equipment on hand and extinguishers fitted to the headers;

Remain vigilant: look behind regularly to check for fires and take regular breaks to check for build-up of flammable materials in the machinery;

Check for straw or grass build up while harvesting;

When carting hay, have a fire-resistant shield behind the exhaust;

Double check all spark arrestors;

Avoid driving motorbikes through long, dry grass; and

Leave the angle grinder in the cupboard on bad days.

For information, fire safety advice and guidelines visit the CFA's Fire Safety on the Farm website or call 1800 240 667 for a copy of the CFA booklet On the Land.

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