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Landholders urged to prepare for bush fires

Following the devastating bushfires at Pappinbarra and Dondingalong last weekend, North Coast Local Land Services is continuing to work with impacted landholders and coordinating agriculture and livestock assistance.

In partnership with NSW Department of Primary Industries, North Coast Local Land Services is responsible for the coordination of agriculture and animal services in emergencies such as bushfires and floods.

With hot weather forecast to hit the region again in the coming days, North Coast Local Land Services is urging landholders to plan how they will protect their livestock from future bush fire threats.

North Coast landholders should ensure they have a plan to manage livestock and animals in the event of a bush fire, says Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services, Jo McGoldrick.

“Being prepared for a bush fire can help landholders protect themselves, their livestock and their property.

“If a landholder has to leave quickly, they will need to leave their livestock in the safest paddock on the property,” Jo said.

In periods of very high fire danger rating, it is recommended that landholders keep up to date with Rural Fire Service advice. Ideally:

  • livestock should be moved to an eaten-out paddock, irrigated pasture or bare yards with a cleared or ploughed perimeter
  • horses should be transported off the property early or agisted if they can’t be kept safe during a bush fire
  • care should be taken with horses so they are not locked in an area where they may panic and hurt themselves. A large sand yard is suitable if there are no flammable buildings or vegetation nearby
  • livestock should be easily identifiable in the event fences are destroyed and stock escape.

North Coast Local Land Services encourages landholders to:

  • keep an eye on the weather
  • familiarise themselves with the Rural Fire Service’s fire danger ratings and bush fire alert levels
  • be aware of fire bans and restrictions
  • download useful apps, such MyFirePlan, Fires Near Me and Live Traffic NSW

“Bush fires are a common and natural occurrence in the North Coast region. Planning for bush fires is vital and can save lives.

“If landholders have a plan in place and a bush fire alert is issued they will know what steps they need to take to give their livestock the best chance for survival,” Jo said.

Bush fire survival plan templates are available from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Additionally the North Coast Local Land Services District Veterinarian team are advising stock owners to be mindful of the impacts of high temperatures on their stock – even if there is no local bushfire risk.

Cattle can be affected by heat stress and signs include – increase in respiration rate, open mouth breathing, reduced feed intake, seeking shade, crowding around water troughs, drooling saliva and in severe cases collapse and death.

Owners should ensure that cattle are in a paddock that provides adequate shade opportunities for all stock, especially in the hotter parts of the day and ensure that water supply is adequate.

It is also important to ensure farm dogs have access to plenty of shade and water – providing additional water dishes may be necessary.

North Coast Local Land Services can assist landholders to plan and prepare for fires and other natural disasters in order to protect livestock. For advice and assistance, landholders should contact their nearest office on 1300 795 299.

Media contact:

Ms Jo McGoldrick, Manager Biosecurity and Emergency Services Phone: 0407 121 265

Photo captions:

1. Planning for bush fires is vital and can save lives
2. Aftermath of the Pappinbarra bushfire