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Reducing Fire Risk…One Text at a Time

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A group of Mallee farmers have taken fire safety into their own hands by setting up a fire risk text messaging service.

Following the devastating Pinery fire in 2015 and increased harvest loads this season, the Pinnaroo based farmers felt the need to do more about fire safety.

After setting up a community meeting and signing up other farmers in the local area, four area captains were chosen to manage the messages from their end of the town.

On a fire risk day, farmers would receive messages about fire ban advice, warnings to consider stopping harvest when the fire danger index was too high or if there was a fire in the area.

Pinnaroo cropper Wade Nickolls was a key instigator of the service, and said it helped to reduce the number of fires in the Pinnaroo area over harvest.

The text messaging service also reached across the border, alerting farmers in Victoria’s Murrayville and surrounding regions.

As a service run by farmers for farmers, everyone was able to maintain their independence when harvesting, without being legislated by the government.

“We don’t want to be legislated and told when we can and can’t harvest,” Mr Nickolls said.

“So if we look to be trying to do the right thing around the risk of [fire]…before something gets out of control, it will hopefully go a long way.”

On the future of the fire safety text service, Mr Nickolls said the community will need to meet once again to review it before deciding if it should be implemented all year round.

Image Source – Stock Journal