Public outcries limit prescribed burning: academic

Public outcries limit prescribed burning: academic

31 October 2006

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Australia — A leading Australian bushfire expert is blaming public and political scrutiny for limiting the Department of Sustainability and Environment’s (DSE) prescribed burning program.

Professor Kevin Tolhurst from Melbourne University says more fuel reduction burning needs to be done to protect against summer bushfires.

But he says DSE fire plans have to be signed off by up to 20 different areas within the department.

He says public outcries over escaped burns have hamstrung the planning process.

“The amount of paperwork that’s required to conduct a burn these days means that you can’t take opportunities on a day-by-day basis because it takes 12 months of planning to conduct a prescribed burn, which means opportunities will be missed and they’re opportunities that won’t come around again,” he said.

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