Australia — PLANNED burning programs have resumed in the far south-west and Otway districts.
The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) and Parks Victoria have warned residents they are likely to notice smoke in coming days.
The south-west program recommenced on a 121-hectare site along Hauslers Lane at Milltown, six kilometres north-east of Heywood.
The project was designed to complement fuel reduction works in adjacent areas.
DSE south-west land and fire regional manager Peter Codd said planned burning was part of an integrated plan to reduce the bushfire risk to people, property and communities.
Reducing fuel loads near communities and in remote areas can reduce the threat of damaging bushfires to communities and the environment so DSE will be conducting planned burns whenever the weather is right, Mr Codd said.
We are taking advantage of locally suitable weather conditions to conduct burns to reduce fuel levels and to revitalise areas of native vegetation.
Mr Codd said DSE would take advantage of every suitable opportunity to burn across the south-west. However, people need to remember that conditions were still warm and dry.
DSE staff work closely with Bureau of Meteorology across all planned burning operations.
We also have DSE staff out at the burn sites checking fuel moisture levels to make certain that the conditions are absolutely right for these burns to be conducted.
There are processes in place to make sure every burn is conducted as safely as possible, and burns are patrolled until they are considered safe.
Mr Codd said the resumption of planned burning meant people may see or smell smoke.
Seeing smoke so soon after bushfires may cause concern for some people, but we ask that if people see smoke and are concerned, they should ring the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, not triple zero. It is important triple zero is only used in case of emergency if you see flames.
If people experience any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, they should seek medical advice or call Nurse-on-Call on 1300 60 60 24.
People wanting information on planned burns should visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/burns or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.