Spring burning has begun with the state government capitalising on favourable weather conditions to get bushfire ready ahead of the coming summer months.
The Parks and Wildlife Service at the Department of Biodiversity,
Conservation and Attractions has begun its spring prescribed burning program to minimise the impact of devastating bushfires on communities.
In the 2016-17 financial year, the department achieved 247,360 hectares due to preparation of burns during the preceding 12 months, committed staff and beneficial weather conditions.
This was the department’s best result in 29 years.
In its South West forest regions, the department aims to have 45 per cent of the landscape it manages, about 2.5 million hectares, at less than six years since last burnt.
At the end of the last financial year, it was at 41 per cent.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the burning was essential to decreasing the risk of surefire.
“Prescribed burning is essential in ensuring communities are afforded the greatest protection during bushfires,” Mr Dawson said.
“Community safety is paramount and the government has provided an additional $5.5 million in this year’s budget to get the state’s forests and conservation lands bushfire ready before the summer months.
The extra funding allocation of $5.5 million has enabled the department to undertake additional burning when conditions are suitable, as well as extend employment contracts of seasonal land management employees as required.
“This funding will be used to extend seasonal employment contracts and utilise small businesses such as heavy machinery contractors in regional areas, providing increased employment opportunities with direct safety, social, economic and conservation benefits.
“The extra funding has provided the department with greater resources and flexibility to safely undertake as much burning as it can throughout the department’s three forest regions.”
Additionally, it provides the department with a greater ability to engage additional contracted
earthmoving machines, water tankers and road and traffic management contractors.
Last week the Department of Parks and Wildlife issued a smoke alert for Bunbury to Augusta as prescribed burns were undertaken.
Smoke was visible until late this evening.
The smoke was the result of three prescribed burns being carried out in the South West.
The department’s daily proposed prescribed burns can be accessed at http://www.dbca.wa.gov.au/todaysburns