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Annual prescribed burning target achieved - second consecutive year

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson today announced that as of May 23, 2018, about 216,000 hectares of prescribed burning had been achieved - the second year in a row that the target of at least 200,000 hectares has been exceeded, and the first time for two consecutive years since 1996-97.

Since July 1, 2017, the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions' (DBCA) Parks and Wildlife Service has commenced 127 burns on land that it manages, including national parks, conservation reserves and State forest from Gingin in the north to Denmark on the south coast, including the Perth Hills area.

This amount of prescribed burning will significantly reduce the threat and severity of devastating bushfires, minimising the risk to life, infrastructure and biodiversity values by reducing the build-up of flammable vegetation and ground fuels.

DBCA's prescribed burning target for its south-west forest regions is to have 45 per cent of department-managed land in these regions at a fuel age of less than six years since last burnt.

Prescribed burning is highly dependent on suitable weather conditions, fuel moisture and a range of other factors to be undertaken safely. A mix of large landscape and smaller urban interface prescribed burning is essential in ensuring greater protection for communities.

Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:

"The McGowan Labor Government is committed to ensuring greater collaboration between government agencies, local government authorities and industry to ensure the Western Australian community is protected from the damaging impacts of bushfires.

"We allocated an additional $5.5 million in funding in the 2017-18 financial year to enhance the department's prescribed burning program, which has boosted the department's resources.

"We've had an outstanding year, with burning last spring and this autumn reaching around 216,000 hectares due to detailed planning and ideal weather conditions, particularly during May.

"I thank department staff and volunteers for their hard work in achieving such an excellent result, and I also thank the wider community for their understanding where smoke has impacted populated areas. The department aims to minimise smoke impacts, however, this has been unavoidable at times.

"The department will continue to undertake as much prescribed burning as it can in the coming weeks, weather permitting and when safe to do so, as part of its shared responsibility in keeping communities safe."

Minister's office - 6552 5800