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Operating Farm Machinery

Operating Machinery, Equipment and Vehicles in dry vegetation

        It is your responsibility to limit the possibility of ignitions and prevent the spread of fires from your property.
        This includes fires that may start due to harvesting operations, slashing and the use of machinery in dry vegetation.
        The Tasmania Fire Service recommends operators of machinery, equipment and vehicles adopt the practices within the Machinery Operations Guideline.
        The Machinery Operations Guideline can be downloaded here.


Machinery Operations Ban

       The use of certain machinery and practices can be restricted during the Fire Permit Period and on days of Total Fire Ban.
       When conditions warrant, Tasmania Fire Service will ban machinery operations with an explicitly worded Total Fire Ban declaration.
       Information on fire bans and fire permits can be accessed here.

Recommended Machinery Operating Practices

       The following practices should be adopted when using engines, vehicles, equipment or machinery in areas that are within, or in close proximity to dry vegetation and similar combustible materials.

Plan
  •  Establish a fire prevention and emergency response strategy for staff, contractors and machinery operators.
  •  Be aware of potential ignition sources from the machinery being used.
  •  Adopt a regular maintenance program, both before and during operations, paying particular attention to wearing parts, bearings and engines.
  •  Aim to ensure machinery is free from faults and mechanical defects.
  •  Ensure combustible residues on machines are kept to a minimum, especially in areas of high fire risk, such as engines, exhausts and brakes.
Prepare
  •  Prior to commencing operations, check the fire weather forecast. Forecast Machinery Operations Restrictions can be accessed here.
  •  Have ready access to telephones and UHF radio.
  •  Machinery operators should have appropriate firefighting clothing and a plan for the protection of themselves, their equipment and the community.
  •  Have ready access to operational firefighting equipment, such as:
    • Fire extinguisher,
    • Knapsack, and ideally
    • A 250 litre transportable firefighting unit.
  • Drive on tracks and park in cleared areas to prevent fires starting from hot exhausts.
  • Provide 3 metres clearance around and above stationary machinery or engines, or remain with the equipment while running.
Monitor
  • Monitor fire information and advice through TasALERT (www.alert.tas.gov.au)
  • Monitor weather information and warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology.
  • The latest weather observations from the Bureau of Meteorology can be accessed here.
  • Measure local weather and check the Machinery Operations Table.
  • Suspend operations when weather reaches the thresholds shown in the Machinery Operations Table.
Respond
  • Phone 000 as soon as a fire is detected.
  • In the event of a fire, and if safe to do so without causing additional fires and endangering your own life, locate the machinery to a fuel reduced area, in an attempt to prevent fire spread.
  • Attempt to put the fire out.
Machinery Operations Table

    The following table is a very simple tool that enables farmers and machinery operators to measure their local weather conditions and determine if the use of machinery should continue or cease due to fire risk.
  1. Obtain the relative humidity, temperature and wind speed values from the nearest suitable weather station, or from field observations.
  2. If the local wind speed is above the threshold, suspend operations until conditions moderate.

Farming Machinery Operations

Contact Tasmania Fire Service here for a free Machinery Operations Table sticker, or download a copy here.

Machinery Operations Restrictions Forecast

       A three day forecast of machinery operations restrictions can be accessed here

       The forecast maps are generated by the Tasmania Fire Service daily at 6:00 am, and may aid operators in the planning of safe harvesting and machinery operations.
       Operators of machinery should check the forecast maps before commencing operations.
       Note: Local weather conditions may exceed the forecast, and therefore operators of machinery must monitor their local weather conditions.


Machinery Operations Restrictions Forecast Maps

     The following maps identify areas where forecast fire weather conditions necessitate the cessation of machinery operations.

     3km by 3km squares will be coloured by the number of hours that day when machinery operations should cease.

     The presence of the topographic background and absence of any overlayed 3km coloured squares indicate zero hours of
     forecast weather conditions that necessitate the cessation of machinery operations.

     These forecast maps may aid operators in the planning of safe harvesting and machinery operations.
  • Today
  • Tomorrow
  • The day after tomorrow
For further information free call 1800 000 699 or email planning@fire.tas.gov.au