Spring fuel re­duc­tion burns plan

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS -

PREPA­RA­TIONS for spring fuel re­duc­tion burns are now un­der way as Tas­ma­nia’s peak fire sea­son draws closer.

State Fire Man­age­ment Coun­cil chair­man Ian Sauer said while many ar­eas of the state had ex­pe­ri­enced a wet win­ter, strate­gic burns would start as soon as con­di­tions were right.

“There are a num­ber of burns planned right across the state and as soon as it’s dry enough they’re wait­ing to go,” he said.

Mr Sauer said au­tumn had been an ex­cep­tion­ally good sea­son for fuel re­duc­tion burns and more pri­vate landown­ers were get­ting in­volved.

While there was a lot of fo­cus on as­set pro­tec­tion, Mr Sauer said the en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­log­i­cal ben­e­fits were fac­tors worth high­light­ing.

“The fact is that, apart from rain­for­est, a lot of our na­tive for­est ar­eas need fire to re­gen­er­ate and that’s some­thing we prob­a­bly don’t talk enough about,” he said.

Mr Sauer said the fuel re­duc­tion pro­gram had moved away from an over­all hectares­burned ap­proach to more strate­gic man­age­ment, with burns to pro­tect key ar­eas and as­sets.

Tas­ma­nian farmers were be­ing urged to start pre­par­ing now for what could be a warm- er and drier than av­er­age sea­son ahead. Dry con­di­tions in ar­eas south of Ross al­ready were caus­ing con­cern.

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy se­nior cli­ma­tol­o­gist Dr An­drew Watkins said the out­look for spring in many ar­eas would be drier than av­er­age.

United Fire­fight­ers Union Tas­ma­nia se­nior in­dus­trial of­fi­cer Leigh Hills said it was “ab­so­lutely cru­cial to have lo­cal knowl­edge” dur­ing re­duc­tion burns and high fire dan­ger pe­ri­ods.

With the num­ber bush­fires in Tas­ma­nia in­creas­ing steadily since 2000, farmers and prop­erty own­ers were be­ing warned to start now to pre­pare for the fire sea­son.

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