Ember attacks from abushfire pose major threat

If you live in Ballarat you should give attention to being on the receiving end of a major bushfire. Cities like Canberra and Bendigo will tell you fires do not keep to the surrounding country but can and do enter into cities.

Our big danger is being on the receiving end of an ember attack from a fire in the Creswick state forest.

Twenty-five years ago I was part of a crew at Mollongghip where at 10 o’clock at night the sky contained thousands of burning embers drifting overhead and falling to the ground to start hundreds of spot fires. What put that fire out was an inch of rain.

Stringy bark gum trees in the forest are the problem. Fires love them and the up draft from the fires lift the bark embers into the heavens to go wherever the prevailing wind takes them. A wind from the north lands these embers in Ballarat, from the west and Bungaree gets them.

We could get over a thousand burning embers drift down into the city and while many of them will land on the roads, green lawns and tin roofs, many will land in dry grass, straw garden mulch and gutters full of leafs.

One spot fire is easy to handle but four or five hundred is quite a challenge.

What should you do if you live in the areas of the city with bushfire overlays, you should think of leaving your home and going to a safer area and hope the CFA might be able to save your home.

If you live in an area where you normally would think you’re safe, check you have no area of dry grass in your backyard or leaves in the gutters spouts. Fill a garbage can with water and have a bucket handy to splash a burning ember.

Your town water could be useless as everybody will be trying to damp down their properties.

The council sends notes out to cut grass down and they should extend it to cover bushy areas. They should mow down street areas where a fire risk is seen.

Long-term, they should remove the koala habitat overlays so block owners can make their areas safe.

Every street contains homes that are buried with scrubs and trees and they should receive notes to clean them up.

Council should put fire prevention to the top of the list, because it is not there now. Could the CFA examine my notes and if they agree they contain sense to letter drop homes in high risk areas with their advice on action required?

Individuals should look over their neighbours fence to see if they have taken precautions. If your neighbours home gets alight, you have a problem too.

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