Tasmania hopes for quiet fire season, but grass fires could still pose threat

By Grayson Genders on
16 January 2023


The current fire season in Tasmania is expected to be quiet, with the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) not anticipating any major events, except possibly a few grass fires. The bushfire season in Tasmania typically runs from October through to March, with permits introduced as of December 20 last year.

Brigade Chief Daniel Watson of the Deloraine fire brigade said he did not expect anything to really stress his brigade this year. However, he did say that there may be some issues with smaller farms and new owners as they learn how things work.

“We may see a few issues with smaller farms, and new owners as they learn how things work and what days are good to do what”.

If you have acquired a local property, Mr Watson said there is nothing like local knowledge. “I would say if your new, just knock on your neighbour’s doors. Just say hey, look what do you reckon? I want to do this, what do you think? Is today a good day or not”.

“Landowners can also find additional information on fuel reduction on the Red Hot Tips website or even through the TFS website which has good information about what’s going on, and of course listen to the ABC for weather reports, and if it’s a total fire ban day,” he said.

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Despite the overall quiet fire season predicted, Mr Watson cautioned that if the summer extends into late March, the grass on the sides of roads may be killed off, which could potentially be an issue.

“Farmers often handle their own fuel reduction, create fire breaks and put a set of discs around their paddocks that front on the roads as a preventative measure. it's just a bit of common-sense stuff that farmers have”.

The fire brigade in Deloraine like many around our state is facing challenges due to declining membership, making it difficult for them to respond to requests for fuel reduction assistance and training from farmers and new property owners.

“It’s worth remembering many brigades like ours in Deloraine have declining memberships, we often get requests from farmers and new property owners to assist with fuel reduction as training.

But unfortunately, we just don't have the numbers to really do it, and it adds a lot of pressure on volunteers to get out, who are already stretched for time”.

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Mr Watson said, “it's obviously a lot better to get on top of these things before they're an issue and for the farmers to manage their own properties”.

Mr Watson said he appreciated the assistance of the local farming community and recognised their common sense and efforts in managing their land, as well as their support of fire brigades during high-danger fire times.

“Their help is always really appreciated, they're always the first people to come down and open up gates or drop fence so that we can get through, or get access, or give us that little bit of local knowledge that we need. They will run around with a set of discs and stuff like that. All that effort doesn't go unnoticed, and it's very much appreciated” he said.

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