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Author Topic: Using smoker during summer, fire management  (Read 327 times)

Offline TheFuzz

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Using smoker during summer, fire management
« on: December 13, 2019, 11:34:31 pm »
I have some beekeeping that needs to be done. Its not a total fireban where my bees are at, CFS says there's a high risk though still and I feel nervous about using a smoker.

What can Australian beekeepers do during the summer time? Whenever a smoker is used there's a chance if it causing a bush fire. Is there an alternative to using a smoker?

I have two fire extinguishers, a bucker of water and a water drum, a steel bucket to drop the smoker in but it doesn't seem adequate. I could get a tarp maybe, and lay it down around the hives before I light the smoker, to act as a barrier between the smoker and dry flammable grasses and weeds.

Could it be worth to get a heishin bag, to leave it submerged in the water so I can beat a fire with it if need be? If so, where could I find a heishin bag?

I'm just feeling conflicted. I don't want to ignore my bees for the next few months they struggle most during summer. But I don't want to cause an immense amount of destruction by checking in on them.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2019, 08:58:59 am »
Fuzz,
As a Wild fire fire fighter and a Firewise Coordinator, my recommendation would be to take a lawnmower to your apiary and mow the grass short. If possible you might have a farmer cut a fire break with a harrow around your apiary. With the grass mowed short and a fire break, the chance of a fire getting out of control are slim.
The community that I live in is surrounded by forests that are a constant threat of catching fire. In 2006 we had one of the largest fires in the country burn from miles up in Georgia to 30 miles south of me and it was many miles wide. It came less than a mile from my farm. Because of people keeping the lawns cut short, trees away from their houses, dibree  cleared and one great fire fighting team, no houses were lost.
If the grass is real tall, it may take a couple of cuttings it get the area cleared of enough fuel to make it safe.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Milo

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2019, 09:07:02 pm »
Follow all the State regulations and talk to your local fire brigade about what could be or should be done

Check weather conditions and because you will be head down in the hives, take someone along with you to be a spotter who?s sole job is to observe and put out sparks/fires.

Never light up on a TFB day without a permit ?cos if it gets away you will be liable



Offline Bamboo

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2019, 04:51:36 am »
The Fuzz
 As Milo said check with local regs.
I am in Qld and we have had total fire ban for a while now, smokers are ok as they are regarded as contained. Bit like gas bbg's etc.
As always be mindful. Sounds like you have plenty of resources to call on. Grab an old lid when you are lighting smoker and light smoker in the upturned lid, that way you are not in contact with grass , undergrowth etc.
The chances of lighting a fire from your smoker should be minimal, you should never get to the stage of spreading sparks, after all it is a smoker not a blow torch. It is meant to be cool smoke, anything hot and you are killing bees.
I always have a bung to put in the spout of a smoker to starve the oxygen and put out smoker. The number of stories of beekeepers leaving the smoker on the back of the truck with a load of hives and incinerating hives and truck several kilometers down the road are legendary.
Cheers
Mark

Offline kanga

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2019, 07:11:49 am »

The below information is copied from a document produced by the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 19 September 2019. It also contains tips for Fire Safety.
Kev

https://extensionaus.com.au/professionalbeekeepers/fire-safety-for-beekeepers/

"State regulations during total fire bans
The following table links to permit applications and advice on whether bee smokers can be used in emergencies during total fire ban days in each state:

State Regulations/Permits                    Total fire ban days (in emergency only)
             QLD                                                                Yes
             NSW                                                                Yes
             ACT   
              VIC                                                       Yes with permit
             TAS                                                                 No
              SA                                                 Must be lit in car or building
              WA                                                                 No
              NT                                                                 No

Offline max2

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2019, 05:23:31 pm »
Thanks for this info, Kanga.

Offline crispy

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2020, 07:28:54 pm »
Hi all just to add to this post last week we had a small fire in the hills region here in adelaide and they rekon the cause was from a bee smoker ,even though it was not a fire ban the grass is still dry .No info was given on how it actually happened but the association has issued a warning to be very carefull when using a smoker at this time of year thankfully our firies got it under control quickly .

Offline Acebird

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2020, 10:17:31 am »
Some people have good luck with spraying sugar water.
Brian Cardinal
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Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Using smoker during summer, fire management
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2020, 11:18:34 am »
Brian,
I have used plain water in a spray bottle, especially when I don?t actually go into the brood box.
Jim Altmiller