Wet month has fires on backburner

ONLY a fraction of the bushland scheduled for fuel reduction burns in the Hume region this autumn has been lit due to this month’s high rainfall.

This time last year the Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria had burnt more than 55,000 hectares.

So far this year, only 7000 hectares have been burnt.

Authorities had planned to burn more than 53,000 hectares but the rain has made it unlikely they will be able to go into high elevation forest areas before the end of autumn.

The department’s planned burning manager for the Hume region, Paul O’Connor, said most of the burns in the Hume region were carried out in autumn.

“(But) the rain has interrupted plans, with the whole Hume region receiving more than 50 millimetres this month,” he said.

Mr O’Connor said the department and Parks Victoria planned to burn lower elevation forest areas as soon as weather and fuel conditions allowed.

He said vegetation dried out quicker in lower elevation areas close to towns and farmland, providing the chance to burn before winter.

Mr O’Connor said the department would burn 63 hectares along the Ovens River near Bright this week.

It has also planned three burns near Granya totalling more than 1000 hectares.

A 406-hectare burn will be carried out on Walshs Road, seven kilometres north-west of Jamieson, while another 2793 hectares will be burnt on Snake Edwards Divide Link Track at Knockwood.

Authorities are also monitoring burns within the Goulburn Fire District near Benalla last week.

Mr O’Connor said those living in or visiting any towns within the Hume region may see smoke from the burns.

Anyone who has health issues caused by smoke should seek medical advice or contact Nurse-on-Call on 1300 606 024.

For more information about planned burns visit depi.vic.gov.au/burnsmap or phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.

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