Goats are being used to keep grasses low in the lead-up to the bushfire season

FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS: The NSW Rural Fire Service has recruited goats to undertake hazard reduction grazing trials to evaluate their effectiveness and continue mitigation works to further prepare this fire season. Photo: Supplied
FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS: The NSW Rural Fire Service has recruited goats to undertake hazard reduction grazing trials to evaluate their effectiveness and continue mitigation works to further prepare this fire season. Photo: Supplied

GOATS are the latest weapon being used on some rural properties in the battle against bushfires.

The ruminants are grazing on fire-prone land in the Far South Coast and Northern Tablelands of NSW to see whether they can help reduce fuel load this spring.

"The Rural Fire Service is always keen to learn more about how we can improve and enhance the ways we can better prepare areas ahead of the fire season," community risk manager Shellie Smyth said.

"So we have recruited goats to undertake hazard reduction grazing trials to evaluate their effectiveness and continue mitigation works to further prepare this fire season."

Some property managers are leasing the goats as part of the trial, letting them graze on their grassland.

"The goats provide an alternative to burning, which is heavily reliant on favourable weather," Shellie said.

"The four-legged firefighting crews will be reducing the fuel loads rain, hail or shine."

Two-legged residents can do their bit to help protect their property this bushfire season.

Many areas across Australia have received a drenching, with above-average rainfall.

While this is welcome after the drought, it has meant early and rapid growth of shrubs and grasses.

Longer grass spreads fire faster, so rural residents should mow regularly and remove grass cuttings.

Take an audit of your property to list anything that may be flammable or catch alight in a fire, such as old tins that may be storing pesticides.

This includes discarded bits of timber and firewood leftover from winter.

Having a bushfire survival plan is essential; however, many residents overlook protecting cherished possessions in the event of a bushfire.

Photos, jewellery, old school reports and mementos from departed loved ones have been lost forever as residents flee from a fire with their family and pets.

If you live in a fire-prone area, the only sure way to keep treasures and mementos safe is to store them off-site or, in the case of jewellery, wear it at all times.

If this is impractical (especially for smaller treasures), you may want to invest in a fire-safe file box.

Keep all insurance current, correct

KEEP your insurance up-to-date in the lead-up to the bushfire season.

Before the season begins, homeowners living in fire-prone areas should collect information and evidence in case they need to make a claim.

Use your iPhone to take a video of your property and contents and store this in a safe place, such as a Cloud service.

Check you have the right type of coverage in the event of your property being affected by a bushfire and that it covers the costs of a rebuild if necessary.

A standard limit to an insurance policy is the timeframe of between 48 and 72 hours of you first taking out the policy where you are not covered in the event of a bushfire, so make sure your insurance is the right type for you in the lead-up to the fire season.

More information at insurancelaw.org.au.

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