Planned burns ig­nite

Myrtleford Times - - Front Page - By JUSTIN JEN­VEY

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.

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