Forestry Corporation of NSW has started small-scale strategic hazard reduction burns in up to 610 hectares of Bodalla State forest near Narooma to protect the forest and neighbouring private property against wildfires.
Autumn is one of the key times to reduce the forest’s fuel load and help protect communities and the environment against bushfires, according to Forestry Corporation Protection Supervisor, Peter Carstairs.
“We had a very mild fire season, which has recently wrapped up; it’s now time to start preparing for next summer,” Mr Carstairs said.
The coastal strip between Nowra and the Victorian border is one of the most fire-prone regions of Australia and managing fuel levels by completing hazard reduction burns is critical to Forestry Corporation’s capacity to manage wildfires over summer.
“There’s a narrow window of opportunity to safely complete hazard reduction burns — when it’s not too hot or damp and the wind conditions limit the impact of smoke on neighbours,” Mr Carstairs said.
“So we will be taking advantage of favourable conditions over the coming months to reduce fuel in local forests.”
The hazard reduction burns will be visible on the “Fires Near Me” app as a planned event.
Forestry Corporation firefighters will carefully monitor all controlled burns to ensure the weather is suitable and the burns stay within containment lines.
The organisation is asking people to pay attention to any signs in the forest or instructions from staff, and stay away from any burning or recently burnt areas for their own safety.
“Forest firefighters play an important role in fighting fires in the region’s forests, but fire prevention is a fundamental part of our role and is a vital way to mitigate the threat of a bad fire season in future years,” Mr Carstairs said.
“Over the winter months we will also be investing in training firefighting staff, maintaining and upgrading equipment, improving key forest roads for rapid access and maintaining fire towers to aid rapid fire detection and quick response next fire season.”
Forestry Corporation is responsible for more than 2.2 million hectares of native and planted forests and has been formally involved in firefighting in NSW for 100 years.
For more information about hazard reduction burns, contact the Forestry Corporation Batemans Bay Office on 1300 880 548.
Image: Forestry Corporation NSW, RFS