Council’s Manager Citizens Services Laurienne Winbanks said Council has been investigating a number of illegal litter dumps where it appears people are throwing rubbish, litter, grass clippings, tree branches etc over their fence and into large vacant properties.
“This litter along the fence prevents the slasher from creating a fire break along the fence line and potentially increases the risk of the residents nearby being impacted by fire in that area,” said Ms Winbanks
“Council has been conducting proactive and reactive Fire Prevention inspections and have been issuing Notice to Complies and Fire Prevention Notices over the last month or so,” she said.
The CFA Declared Fire Danger Period for Greater Shepparton commenced on Monday 5 December and the CFA determined that Fire Permits will not be issued at this stage.
“Potential fire hazards are a danger not only to the landowner’s property but also to their neighbours and their property, to livestock, crops and pets.”
“Vacant residential land should have fine fuel loads reduced by slashing and mowing grass, cleaning up leaves and twigs and removing any rubbish. Rural land should have sufficient fire breaks and all firefighting equipment should be serviced and ready to go,” said Ms Winbanks.
“Properties identified as a potential fire hazard may be issued with a Fire Prevention Notice. If the Fire Prevention Notice is not complied with, costs associated with Council undertaking works will be incurred including administration fees along with the possibility of an infringement notice being issued.”
In 2012 the State Government introduced stricter penalties for people failing to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice. Any person who has failed to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice can be issued with an infringement with a penalty of $1516. Matters referred to court for failing to comply with a Fire Prevention Notice can now result in fines of up to $18,200 and / or 12 months imprisonment.
Ms Winbanks would like to remind landowners that trees and shrubs cannot be removed without consent from Council’s Planning department.
“If you have already completed works, thank you for being proactive and please continue to maintain your land to protect everyone in the community from potential fire hazards,” said Ms Winbanks.
Residents should refer to the CFA website for information on what restrictions will apply and the activities that are prohibited during the declared fire danger period.