Avoiding crop fires and preventing bushfires

WA BAL Report are experts in conducting bushfire attack level assessments and bushfire attack level reports for those living in bushfire-prone areas. However, if you live in a bushfire-prone area, it is likely you will be required to do more to protect yourself from bushfire risk. Crop fires can start on farms during harvests due to the movement of machinery and vehicles through cropped paddocks. However, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent crop fires and today WA BAL Report would like to shed some light on the issue.

Farmers and harvesting contractors must comply with the Bush Fires Regulations 1954, including not operating any harvesting machine or header in any crop during prohibited times or restricted burning times unless carrying a fire extinguisher. The fire extinguisher must be filled with at least 7.5 litres of water and a capable pump. DFES also recommends that you have a mobile farm firefighting unit comprising of a tank with minimum capacity of 400 litres, a powered pump, reel, hose and nozzle.

Prior to a harvest, you should check and service the header, check the engine and ensure firefighting equipment is on hand and functional. At the start of the day, you should relocate your firefighting equipment to the area being harvested, clean any build-up of dust and straw around the engine and conduct daily greasing and service requirements. You should also check around manifolds, turbo charges, radiator, electrical components, clean brake linkages and park brake drums. You should also walk around the machine and watch, listen and smell to check everything is in working order, at least twice a day.

At the end of the day, you should ensure that no dust or material is collected on the header, auger and field bin motors before leaving the header unattended, isolate the power if possible and park the header on a harvested or clear area. You should always ensure that extreme caution is taken when moving and parking vehicles, and drive on tracks and park on clear areas. Also consider fire retardant treatment for protective clothing.

Be aware of Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans, which prohibit the use of engines, vehicles, equipment or machinery likely to cause a fire. Harvest and Vehicle Movement Bans take place when the Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) reaches 35 using actual local weather conditions. Also be aware if any Total Fire Bans (TFB) are in place, however you may be able to continue farming activities during a TFB.

For more information

WA BAL Report are experts at conducting Bushfire Attack Level Assessments, Bushfire Attack Level Reports and bushfire prevention strategies in general in Perth and Western Australia. For more information, contact our friendly staff on 08 6114 9356 or at admin@wabalreport.com.au.

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