Grassfires can start anywhere and spread quickly.
Reduce your risk when it’s safe to do so. Slash, mow, graze and spray grass near your home and assets, and create fuel breaks. Take care when using chainsaws, lawnmowers, tractors, welders and other machinery on warm days – they can all start fires accidentally.
If you’re caught in a grassfire move to somewhere with minimal vegetation, such as a ploughed or well-grazed paddock. If you’re caught in a car, don’t get out and run. Tightly close windows and doors, cover up with woollen blankets, get down below window level, shut all vents, and turn the engine off. Check your Fire Danger Rating daily and check your Total Fire Ban status on warm days.
Understanding rural grassfire risk
- Grassfires can start and spread quickly and are extremely dangerous.
- Grassfires can travel up to 25 km per hour and pulse even faster over short distances.
- Grass is a fine fuel and burns faster than bush or forests.
- Grassfires tend to be less intense and produce fewer embers than bushfires, but still generate enormous amounts of radiant heat.
- The taller and drier the grass, the more intensely it will burn.
- The shorter the grass, the lower the flame height and the easier the fire will be to control.
- Short grass (under 10cm) is a much lower risk.
- Grassfires can start earlier in the day than bushfires, because grass dries out more quickly when temperatures are high.
- Living in a grassland area with dried-out brown or golden-coloured grass that is over 10cm high is a fire risk. There are some exceptions, such as Phalaris grass, which will burn even when green.
For more information on how to manage your risk and what to do if caught in a grassfire please see http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/plan-prepare/grassfires-rural/