$1444 fine for failing to mow, clean up fire risks

THE City of Ballarat has issued more than 300 notices asking property owners to clean up fire risks on their properties.

The council’s fire prevention officer, Mark Cartledge, said 317 fire prevention notices had been issued since November, with inspections set to continue throughout the Country Fire Authority’s fire danger period.

“Most of the hazards we’ve identified this year have been long grass,” he said.

“Because we’ve had such a wet spring, it’s really pushed the grass along. Because we haven’t had hot weather yet, it hasn’t dried out and it’s still growing.”

Fire prevention notices are issued when the fuel load on a property is considered a fire risk.

Mr Cartledge said property owners had a minimum of 14 days to perform the required works or they faced big penalties.

“If the works haven’t been conducted, we send out council contractors to carry out the work and all the costs are recoverable from the landowner,” he said.

“An infringement of $1444 is also issued again to the landowner.”

Mr Cartledge said it had not been all bad news this season, with many property owners cutting their grass early.

So far, the number of notices issued was also down on last year when 500 notices were sent out over the entire season.

Mr Cartledge said fire restrictions started on Monday but anyone who had recently conducted a burn-off should continue to monitor the site. 

“It can reignite days after,” he said.

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