Autumn planned burning to start in the Otway District
WITH stable weather conditions on the horizon, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) is preparing to begin autumn planned burning in the Otway District, which could start as early as this week.
Forecast average rainfall and mild temperatures over the next few months are expected to provide favourable conditions to safely conduct planned burning.
If conditions are favourable, the autumn program will begin with several planned burns in grasslands near Colac, Cressy and Camperdown.
Larger planned burns up of 1,900 hectares in size will be conducted later in autumn in bushland behind Lorne, to connect past planned burns and significantly reduce the town’s bushfire risk.
The autumn program will also focus on reducing fuel loads around Great Ocean Road townships including Aireys Inlet and Anglesea.
Further planned burning is scheduled for inland areas, with the largest individual planned burn in the Otways to be near Forrest at 1,600 hectares in size. Reducing fuel loads in this area will protect the Forrest community in the event of a large-scale bushfire approaching from the west.
For large planned burns to be conducted safely, crews will use a significant amount of aircraft including helicopters for aerial ignition, water bombing and observation.
This year’s program will build on the work undertaken during autumn planned burning in 2019 across the Otway District, which covered more than 5,500 hectares.
“The current weather outlook is favourable for planned burning from late February through to the end of April, which could see a considerable amount of burning activity occur across the district,” FFMVic Otway district manager David Roberts said.
“The eastern Otways continues to be our priority for planned burning due to the high density of coastal townships surrounded by dense bushland.”
“Reducing fuel loads means bushfires are less intense, making it more likely that firefighters can contain them before they impact on people, property and the environment.”
Businesses and residents situated near scheduled planned burns are being contacted and informed about the coming program.
All planned burns in areas with known wildlife populations are supported by a range of measures before, during and after burns to manage the welfare of wildlife. The planned burn program is undertaken across public and private land, and FFMVic works in partnership with CFA, local government and landholders.