Forest Fire Management Victoria and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) have commenced planned burning for autumn 2017 with a focus on reducing bushfire risk across all land tenures.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Stephanie Rotarangi said: “The first planned burns have started in parts of the state where conditions are suitable and crews are working with the CFA to prepare the sites of future planned burns.

“The predicted weather conditions suggest that this autumn will provide great opportunities to significantly reduce bushfire risk for our communities,” Ms Rotarangi said

“We’ll be concentrating on burns and other fuel reduction works that cover both public and private land targeting high risk urban fringe areas such as the Dandenongs, Mount Macedon, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Otway ranges.

“Working with CFA is a vital part of the planned burning program to make sure that we are using local knowledge to manage bushfire risk together to deliver maximum benefit to the community.

“The result of this partnership is a program that reduces the bushfire risk faced by our communities and environment regardless of the location or land tenure.

“Increasing cooperation with other agencies is part of our Safer Together approach. This helps us measure how effective our fuel management activities are, not just how much we have burned.

“Using bushfire modelling technology and localised knowledge, from fire and environment experts and community groups, we can get a better understanding of where bushfire risk lies in order to tailor our program.”

CFA Chief Officer Steve Warrington said the planned burning program would also act as a training exercise for the sector – putting emergency management arrangements to the test.

“Planned burns are primarily about reducing fuels around communities, but they also act as a great training exercise for our people too,” he said.

“By working together we combine a range of expertise which will benefit the planned burning program and the community.”

For the latest information about when planned burns are happening near you go to www.vic.gov.au/plannedburn download the VicEmergency app or call the VicEmergency hotline on 1800 226 226.