People urged to use caution when slashing paddocks

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging semi-rural property owners to take care when slashing paddocks, with a number of recent grass and bushfires caused by sparks from machinery.

DFES Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Brad Stringer said bushfires can start suddenly and spread very quickly, potentially putting lives and property under threat.

"In the last few weeks more than 10 bushfires have occurred in outer metropolitan areas, including Chidlow, Chittering, Bullsbrook and Gidgegannup due to machinery striking rocks,” Assistant Commissioner Stringer said.

"Fortunately these fires were brought under control relatively quickly due to favourable weather conditions and the outstanding work of firefighters and property owners, however we might not be so lucky next time.

"We strongly urge contractors and property owners to slash paddocks early in the morning or late afternoon, ensure their machinery is in good condition and has been serviced regularly, and have firefighting equipment on standby.

"People also need to take care to ensure machinery isn't getting too hot or causing sparks.”

The Fire Danger Rating should be taken into account before slashing paddocks and under no circumstances can slashing be carried out when a Total Fire Ban has been declared. Heavy penalties apply for breaching a Total Fire Ban, which include being fined up to $25,000 and/or jailed for 12 months.

"This is a timely reminder that everyone should have a bushfire survival plan in place, outlining what they will do if a bushfire threatens their area,” Assistant Commissioner Stringer said.

"Bushfires can happen anywhere, anytime and it's essential everyone is prepared.”