Australia — Victoria will almost triple the amount of annual planned burning with the state government agreeing to implement the bushfire royal commission’s fuel reduction target.
The government will spend more than $380 million over four years to increase the annual target from 130,000 hectares to 385,000 hectares, or five per cent of public land.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment, which is responsible for carrying out planned burns, will aim to increase the target to 275,000 hectares by 2013/14 and reach 385,000 hectares by 2015/16.
“We accept that we need to substantially increase the level of fuel reduction burning to make our state safer,” Mr Brumby said on Friday.
“But you can’t get there overnight, it’s just physically impossible to do that.”
The Wilderness Society said it had significant concerns over the five per cent target.
“While planned burns must put the protection of lives first, it needs to be done right or there will be catastrophic consequences for wildlife and biodiversity,” said The Wilderness Society’s Richard Hughes in a statement.
The Victorian National Parks Association said burn targets should be local, not statewide.