CFA urges farmers to be wary of machinery fire risk

THE CFA has warned farmers to assess the situation carefully before using machinery on fire danger days.

CFA headquaters operations manager Mick Harris said on those days, any work that could spark a fire should be postponed until conditions are less severe.

"Farmers need to look at just doing their essential farming on fire danger days," Mr Harris said. 

"Equipment include headers, tractors and other machinery can start fires, as can slashing or stripping crops.

"All machinery needs to be checked and ensured it is in good mechanical order and won't start a fire, and farmers should always carry an extinguisher with them."

Farmer Gordon (Tiger) Powell works with his son on his Cargnham property and watched the Trawalla fire on Monday from a distance.

"Monday's fires were travelling in a southerly direction about 1.5km away from his property, but if it had have swung west they would have been in trouble," he said. 

"He's been lucky. The Cargnham fires were about 1.5km away on the other side."

Mr Powell said there were always precautions farmers had to take in the heat. 

"When we're doing grain we usually have a 1000 litre unit with us, just in case anything goes wrong.

But he said on days like yesterday, they wouldn't be doing any harvesting.

"You've got to keep cropping, it's part of our living, but there are days when you just can't." 

Mr Harris said there were pressure of running a farm and working long hours, but he urged farmers to stop and have a look around at the conditions to determine if they could postpone their work. 

"A fire that starts on a day like today can easily burn 200 to 100 hectares, and when it's even more severe can spread further," Mr Harris said.

He said it didn't take much to start a fire and farmers were reminded of that on Monday.

"Angle grinders and welders are prohibited on total fire ban days, unless special permits for urgent work has been organised.

He said in the heat, those working on the land also had to remember to look after themselves.

"You need to know your own limitations, not push yourself and keep hydrated."

Gordon Powell watches the fire near his son's property

Gordon Powell watches the fire near his son's property


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