Hazard reductions likely to produce smoke in Mount Kaputar National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is planning to conduct a hazard reduction burn in Mount Kaputar National Park commencing Thursday 18 February and extending into the weekend, weather permitting, with further burning planned for next week.

Doug Sky lookout, Mount Kaputar National Park

Narrabri Area Manager Martin Linehan said the only visitor facility to be affected is the walk along Scutts Trail to access the historic Scutts Hut, which is likely to be closed for several days. Any closure will be advertised on the NPWS web-site.

The area to be burnt is to the west of Scutts fire trail from a point about 3kms south of the Doug Sky Lookout on the main Kaputar Road and follows the fire trail south for around 5kms.

The burn involves variable fuel loads and vegetation types, and is likely to require 2 stages. This first stage is intended to provide a fuel-reduced strip along Scutts Fire Trail that will enable a second stage of burning involving aerial ignition later in the year.

"Due to the elevation of the area, it is likely smoke will be visible from a significant distance," Mr Linehan said.

"Some of our facilities on the mountain may be affected by smoke, but it is not expected to become a major issue this week," Mr Linehan said.

However, if conditions remain suitable, a second, smaller burn is planned for next week on the Kaputar plateau at the top of the mountain. The protection of assets including telecommunication facilities, cabins, campsites and walking tracks is the main objective of this burn, together with visitor safety. It is likely that a number of facilities will be closed if this burn goes ahead. Anyone planning to visit the summit of Mount Kaputar next week should consult the National Parks and Wildlife Service web-site, where any closures will be advertised.

This burn is one of many hazard reduction operations undertaken by NPWS across NSW each year, many with assistance from the RFS and FRNSW and are part of the NSW Government's $62.5 million package to boost bushfire preparedness and double hazard reduction in the State's national parks, where conditions allow.

With the assistance of the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program, NPWS plans to burn an average of over 135,000 hectares per year, through more than 800 individual hazard reduction activities.

For health information relating to smoke from bush fires and hazard reduction burning, visit the NSW Health website or the Asthma Foundation.

Contact: Jacki Roberts