If conditions are suitable and it is safe to do so, Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) will carry out planned burning near Heathcote this weekend to reduce the potential impact of bushfires on communities and the environment.

FFMVic Acting Regional Manager Forest Fire Operations Paul Bates said planned burning is one of the many strategies employed by FFMVic as part of an integrated approach to protecting life and property from the risk of bushfire.

“If conditions are suitable, residents in Heathcote and surrounding areas may see or smell smoke from the ignition of a planned burn in the McIvor Ranges this weekend.

“This 142 hectare burn is approximately 1km east north east of the Heathcote township and is a critical part of our program to reduce the bushfire risk in the area as part of a broader strategic program that includes other burns and fuel management works such as clearing, mowing and slashing to reduce bushfire risk for communities and the environment.

“Our crews follow careful processes before, during and after a burn, to make sure it is kept safe and controlled. Weather conditions are assessed and monitored, control lines and contingency areas are prepared, traffic control is put in place and our crews will monitor the area overnight and for several days afterwards to put out or remove smouldering material.

“Our crews will use a range of equipment to complete the two-day burn including hand-held drip torches for ignition, 4-wheel drive ultralight tankers, large fire tankers and a bulldozer.

“Planned burns can only go ahead when the weather conditions are suitable and it is safe to do so, so plans can change. We work closely with the Bureau of Meteorology to assess weather conditions, such as humidity, temperature and wind speed, and will only carry out the burn if conditions are suitable,” Mr Bates said.

To find out when and where planned burns are happening near you go to plannedburns.ffm.vic.gov.au or call 1800 226 226.