Spring fuel reduction burns plan
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.