With drier and warmer conditions predicted for September and October, preparing for a potentially earlier bushfire season is crucial.

Stephanie RotarangiWith drier and warmer conditions predicted for September and October, preparing for a potentially earlier bushfire season is crucial.

That’s why Forest Fire Management Victoria has brought forward its preparedness activities, particularly the spring planned burning program, to reduce the risk of severe bushfires to communities and the environment.

For spring, our efforts will focus on reducing risk in the North East, Northern Country, North Central, the Mallee and the Far South West districts.

Victoria is one of the most fire-prone areas in the world, and planned burning is a vital part of the fuel reduction work conducted all year round by highly skilled fire crews from Forest Fire Management Victoria and the CFA. Other means of fuel reduction undertaken by these crews include slashing, mowing and creating and clearing fuel breaks – all of which is necessary to reduce fuel loads, like trees, twigs and leaves, across public land.

Forest Fire Management Victoria’s fuel management program for 2017-18 will continue to focus on conducting burns in areas where there is a risk to communities. This approach is informed by local knowledge of our parks and forest, and by communities’ understanding of what is important to them. Local communities provide valuable input into decision making about bushfire management all year round, working in partnership with fire and environment experts.

This spring may also see opportunities for ecological burns in parts of Victoria, which are specifically designed to maintain the health of plants and animals by protecting natural ecosystems. It’s important to note that all decisions to burn, whether ecological or not, are always evidenced-based to achieve the best possible outcomes.

Naturally, some parts of Victoria are still experiencing wintry conditions and may not have opportunities to burn until late September or early October. Planned burns can only go ahead when weather conditions are suitable and at times, plans can change with short notice.

All Victorians can stay up to date with when and where planned burns are taking place by visiting Forest Fire Management Victoria’s planned burns for the next ten days page, where they can also sign up for SMS and email notifications.

Of course, people can always call the VicEmergency Hotline on 1800 226 226 to find out if any smoke they can see or smell is from a planned burn or a bushfire, or call the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186.

We thank Victorians for their understanding as we begin our fire preparedness work a little earlier than normal this spring to help keen all of our communities safer, together.