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Milestone reached for prescribed burning

Parks and Wildlife prescribed burning in the Perth Hills
Parks and Wildlife prescribed burning in the Perth Hills Jennifer Eliot

More than 75,000 hectares of prescribed burning has been achieved since the start of spring as part of the Department of Parks and Wildlife’s strategy to get ready for the summer fire season – a significant outcome and one of the best in recent years.

Parks and Wildlife Director of Regional and Fire Management Services Peter Dans said the department was progressing with prescribed burning on land it manages, from the Perth Hills area down to Albany, to help protect communities from bushfires.

“Favourable weather conditions and the additional funding provided under Royalties for Regions have enabled the department to significantly progress its burn program with substantial results achieved so far,” he said.

“Prescribed burning is an essential tool in reducing fuel loads and minimising the threat of bushfires throughout the State’s forest regions.

“Autumn and spring are the ideal seasons to conduct prescribed burning and last financial year the department was able to achieve its best prescribed burning outcome in five years within the south-west forest regions, with about 147,000ha completed.

“This now means 35 per cent of department-managed land in the south-west forest regions has a fuel age of less than six years – our aim is to achieve 45 per cent. This is because older fuel loads support more intense and destructive summer bushfires.”

Mr Dans said the additional State Government allocation of $20 million over four years under the Royalties for Regions program had provided Parks and Wildlife with greater capacity and flexibility to undertake prescribed burns on days with suitable weather conditions.

“The department has very limited opportunities to undertake burns as it is highly dependent on weather conditions to ensure safe and effective operations,” he said.

“The program involves careful planning and monitoring, and community consultation at a local level with local government authorities, as well as providing information to residents before burns are conducted.

“While smoke may impact roads and communities on occasions, controlled burns are a necessity for bushfire risk mitigation.”

Mr Dans encouraged all members of the community to visit the department’s website to see if smoke from a prescribed burn may affect them.

Parks and Wildlife updates its website every morning with the prescribed burns planned for each day. The website provides details on where the burns will occur, the size and reasons for undertaking them. The webpage also provides health messages and links for people who may be affected by smoke.

“Prescribed burning is part of the department’s process for mitigating summer bushfires and it is important that the community is aware it is taking place, and the reasons why it is being done,” he said.

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999