Hazy days ahead as burns continue

Hazy days ahead as burns continue

08 March 2011

published by www.canberratimes.com.au

Australia — A small hazard reduction burn at one of Canberra’s most recognisable landmarks yesterday may signify the start of a smoky few weeks in the capital.

The 7-8ha burn around Black Mountain Tower could be dwarfed by burns of about 300ha in coming weeks.

ACT Parks and Conservation Service fire, forests and roads manager Neil Cooper said while the bushfire season was set to end, conditions were prime for hazard reduction burns.

Mr Cooper said as many as three burns a day could be completed in the next week. Weather would be monitored until mid-winter to ensure as much of the 4500ha of planned burns could be completed as possible. ”If we could get a couple of thousand hectares of burns done I’d be happy,” he said. ”There’s really still a lot of ground moisture about so we might not even be able to do that much, but conditions are looking pretty good.”

The cooler nights and high relative humidity forecast for the week are perfect conditions for hazard reduction burns, which are being done alongside fuel monitoring and slashing operations.

A burn was also completed at Aranda yesterday, with burns at Wanniassa Hills and Farrer likely during the rest of the week. The largest burn which may be completed this week is 200ha at Stromlo.

”The bushfire operations plan identifies a quite significant area of burns, but there’s some we just won’t get to,” Mr Cooper said. ”But we’ve got 20 to 30 burn plans ready to go.”

Mr Cooper urged Canberrans to be patient and to stay indoors if affected by smoke.

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