Grass fires signal start of danger season in the Murraylands

The Country Fire Service warns property owners to plan ahead, including by creating a bushfire survival plan.

Murray Bridge council compliance officer Shaun Clayson and CFS community engagement officer Yvette Rathjen warn about the start of fire danger season. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

A series of grass fires sparked by lightning have coincided with the official start of fire danger season on Sunday.

Country Fire Service crews from Murray Bridge and surrounding brigades fought grass fires on Pope Road at Brinkley, Kepa Road at Kepa and Westbrook Road at Naturi during the afternoon.

Local volunteers also joined a strike team which helped in the fight against a larger fire near Salt Creek.

Several fires were still burning near the Coorong on Monday morning.

The fire danger season which began on Sunday will run until April 15 in the Murraylands.

Fires may not be lit without a permit furing the danger season.

Household gas or electric barbecues may be used throughout the fire danger season, so long as they are supervised, an appropriate extinguisher is at hand and flammable material has been cleared from the surrounding area.

However, barbecues which burn wood or charcoal, wood-fired pizza ovens, angle grinders and welders cannot be used on days when the CFS has declared a total fire ban.

Prior preparation prevents panic

CFS community engagement officer Yvette Rathjen said awareness and preparation were the keys to getting through fire danger season safely.

That meant clearing fire hazards around the home, especially for homes located outside townships; and taking the time to create a bushfire survival plan.

“A lot of people think ‘the CFS will come and put my house out or property out’, but that’s not always the case,” she warned.

“We’re limited with our resources.”

Firefighters could also be prevented from reaching certain locations during a large or fast-moving bushfire, she suggested.

But there were lots of things people could do to reduce the impact of any fire which might start in their area.

“The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to panic on the day,” she said.

“If you have a bushfire survival plan ... you’ll know exactly what you’re going to do.

“Do one task each week (during the cooler months): trimming leaves, checking your fire pump, checking fittings and hoses.

“Don’t leave it too late.”

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