Bushfire fears follow the rain

Bushfire fears follow the rain

13 May 2011

published by www.bordermail.com.au

Australia — HOW to tackle the huge amount of vegetation that’s sprung up across NSW was top of the agenda for the bushfire co-ordinating committee at Albury yesterday.

Their second meeting for the year detailed initiatives to tackle the huge amount of plant growth, including using aerial spraying.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the wet conditions had created huge challenges for the state’s firefighters.

“The biggest challenge we’ve got across NSW today is that for the last 18 months or so we have had wonderful, in terms of drought-breaking, conditions,” he said.

“But what has come with that is an abundance of fuel growth, the country’s erupted into life from the Victorian border to the Queensland border and right out to our western boundary.

“We haven’t seen conditions like that for probably 25 years.”

Mr Fitzsimmons said when spring and summer come around that fuel will present some “real challenges”.

Mitigation work including slashing and burning has so far been difficult because of wet ground.

For the first time in several years travelling stock reserves will be burnt off.

“In the Wagga area they haven’t done it before because there’s usually been stock but the properties with an abundance of fuel now don’t need to rely on that vegetation,” he said.

“So there is a concerted effort now right across NSW on roadside vegetation management, getting the fuel down.

“In some areas it’s simply slashing and grading, we’re also doing some experimental work on aerial spraying with herbicides and then rapidly curing that grass and burning it.”

It was the first time the meeting, attended by key stakeholders including Forests NSW, the Department of Environment and Climate Change and the NSW Farmers Association, had been held in Albury.

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