Record hazard reduction in NSW national parks

Environment Minister Robyn Parker today visited the Blue Mountains to congratulate National Parks and Wildlife Service crews on reaching a record amount of hazard reduction burning in national parks in 2012/13.

National Parks staff perform hazard reduction burn at Lane Cove National Park

Ms Parker attended a briefing with NPWS fire fighters carrying out a 350 hectare burn east of Mount Tootie in Wollemi National Park near Bilpin, one of seven underway in Blue Mountains national parks this weekend.

Ms Parker said that the NSW Government had provided $62.5 million over five years to boost fire resources and double hazard reduction in national parks.

“The Blue Mountains burns will take the total amount of hazard reduction in national parks to 135,000 hectares since July 2012,” Ms Parker said.

“This is 40 per cent more than the previous annual best of 96,000 hectares in 2009/10.

“We are on track to meet our target of doubling hazard reduction in national parks to at least 135,000 hectares each year.

“More importantly our hazard reduction methods have been carried out strategically where they will provide very real protection to communities – directly protecting more than 19,000 neighbouring homes and properties.

The increased hazard reduction targets are a key part of the new Living with Fire Strategy released in April, the first ever 10 year plan for managing fire in national parks.

“The Living with Fire Strategy sets out how NPWS will work with agencies such as the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW to keep neighbours and communities safe over summer,” Ms Parker said.

“Hazard reduction, like firefighting, takes a huge amount of skill and experience, and can be difficult and unpredictable.

“It’s important to stress that many of these burns could not be done without the support and help of RFS volunteers, who I thank on behalf of the NSW Government and local communities across the state.”

The NPWS try to provide advance notice to local communities about potential smoke impacts and plan burns to avoid as much disruption and smoke impact as possible. However some burns will occur at short notice.

To find out about hazard reduction burns go to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

To find out about any park closures due to hazard reduction burns go to: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/NationalParks/FireClosure.aspx.