Give the Top End a spray this long weekend

A backyard blitz is a great opportunity for rural landholders to keep fit and healthy while working up a hard earned thirst this long weekend.

Fun activities could include installing firebreaks and spraying gamba grass ahead of this year’s Top End fire season, which are great ways to help save lives, property and the environment.

Firebreaks must be at least 4 metres wide around the perimeter of the property and installed around the house or other permanent structures, stationary engines or flammable materials.

Landholders must also ensure that a 15 metre wide gamba grass-free buffer is installed and maintained along property boundaries, driveways and structures.

During the past month, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has assisted elderly and disabled rural Territorians to reduce their fire risk, by undertaking urgent remedial spraying of gamba grass across 28 properties.

DENR weed management officer Chris Parker said the response from assisted landholders had been very positive with hundreds of other landholders accessing free herbicide and equipment loans to spray gamba grass within their properties.

“Gamba grass grows up to 4 metres tall, burns easily and intensely,” Mr Parker said.

“By reducing the amount of gamba grass on each property we are effectively reducing the fire risk to that property.”

Bushfires NT assistant director operations, Joshua Fischer, said 2019 was one of the worst fire seasons on record and work done now to reduce fuel loads would pay dividends later this year.

“Prevention is certainly much better than the cure when it comes to wildfires,” Mr Fischer said.

“That’s why we are urging landholders to reduce their fuel loads and therefore reduce their fire risk.

“All too often we see the devastating effect fire can have on lives, property and livestock across the Top End and we can’t guarantee we’ll be able to put fires out as soon as they start.

“Rural landholders have a great opportunity this long weekend to reduce their fuel loads and put in firebreaks to protect them and their neighbours this Dry Season.”

Go to www.nt.gov.au/bushfires and www.nt.gov.au/gamba for more information.

Last updated: 30 April 2020

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