Planned burns ignite
SMOKE will continue to be visible around alpine communities as Forest Fire Management Victoria ramps up efforts to complete key focuses of its autumn planned burns program.
A third fuel reduction burn for the Alpine Shire is set to be ignited on Sunday with Ovens Fire District manager Jarrod Hayse saying weather was now looking favourable after a long run of dry conditions.
“Looking at the season we have been dealt a difficult hand in terms of a prolonged dry period, early autumn was probably the driest we saw all season,” he said.
“We were really waiting for some moisture in the landscape before we could commence our burn program safely.
“Historically if we’re burning this late in April we would usually be at the end of our program but basically we’re just commencing.
“We’re gearing up for a very small window of opportunity so we’ve got to take all options where we can.
“We’ll be focusing our efforts where we can around higher risk communities like Beechworth, Yackandandah, Bright, Mt Beauty and Tawonga.”
A total of 448 hectares is planned for ignition near Mt Beauty on Sunday which will add to 350 hectares that was covered at Dederang - Roberts Track at the start of April and 381 hectares in the Myrtleford - Lower Nine Mile Road burn earlier this week.
Mr Hayse said 3000 hectares at Smoko around the Big Flat and Snowy Creek areas was being targeted along with another 3000 hectares in two separate burns for Tawonga-German Creek and Germantown-German Creek while almost 1000 hectares was listed for Mt Porepunkah Track.
However all of those were unlikely to be completed before winter.
“Essentially for a 1000 hectare burn it’s two to three days ignition and then five days patrolling it so bigger burns are about a weeklong job,” Mr Hayse said.
“We’re really fighting time and resource constraints due to the whole state having a delayed start to the season but we’ll do what we can.”
Mr Hayse said local crews will be joined for a week by a group of 20 firefighters from Gippsland who will assist with planned burn assignments.
FUEL REDUCTION: Forest Fire Management Victoria crews are set to be busy conducting planned burns over the coming weeks.