Controlled burns start
SPRING burning has begun, with the State Government capitalising on favourable weather conditions to get bushfire-ready ahead of the coming summer months.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions burnt 247,360 hectares, its best result in 29 years.
The department aims to have 45 per cent of the landscape it manages in the southwest forest regions – about 2.5 million hectares – at less than six years since last burnt.
At the end of the previous financial year, it was at 41 per cent.
An additional $5.5 million in State Government funding has enabled the department to hold additional burning when conditions are suitable, as well as extend employment contracts of seasonal land management employees as required.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said it was essential to ensure communities were given the greatest protection during bushfires.
“Community safety is paramount and the additional funding in this year’s Budget will help get the State’s forests and conservation lands bushfire-ready before the summer months,” he said.
“The extra funding has provided the department with greater resources and flexibility to safely undertake as much burning as it can.
“This funding will be used to extend seasonal employment contracts and use small businesses such as heavy machinery contractors in regional areas, providing increased employment opportunities with direct safety, social, economic and conservation benefits.”