Milder weather across the region has given the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Parks Victoria the opportunity to progress the planned burning program, which will continue when the weather conditions are suitable to burn safely, including potentially over the Easter holiday period.
DEPI’s Regional Manager Land and Fire, Grange Jephcott said: “The window of opportunity to undertake burns safely is limited and determined by weather and other conditions, such as how dry the fuel is.
“Most burns are generally carried out in autumn, because that’s when the weather tends to be still and mild and the conditions are most suitable for burning.
“Gippsland is a region of diverse geography, vegetation and climate and those factors also govern where and when we can burn,” Mr Jephcott said.
“To date, we’ve conducted over 40 regeneration burns in state forest areas north of Noojee, Tanjil Bren and Erica and in the east in the Swifts Creek and Bendoc areas. These burns help to create a seed bed to prepare forest coupes for regeneration after timber harvesting.
“Fuel reduction burns to protect communities have been completed or partially completed near communities such as Buchan, Clifton Creek, Newmerella, Cobungra, Woodside and Yarram.
“Ecological burns to promote and protect biodiversity have also been conducted in State forests, parks and reserves across the region. These burns have dual benefits as they reduce fuel at the same time as protecting plants and animals that need fire to survive and thrive.”
People will continue to see or smell smoke in many parts of the region as the planned burning program progresses when weather conditions are suitable.
“The smoke you will see at this time of year means that planned burns are being used to manage the landscape and to protect our communities by helping to reduce the intensity and impacts of damaging bushfires.
“As our understanding of risk improves, we are making more effective decisions about where planned burning will be carried out, and where it needs to be complemented with other bushfire management activities on public land.”
DEPI asks people who live in or are visiting an area where planned burns might be happening to plan ahead. It is advisable to keep checking when and where planned burns are expected to happen in your region so you can be prepared for smoke or road closures – plans can change at very short notice because of the weather.
For locations and dates of upcoming burns visit depi.vic.gov.au/burns map or call 1800 240 667.