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Expect smoky skies for safer summers in the Southern Ranges

Media release: 5 March 2015

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) begins an ambitious hazard reduction burning program in the Southern Ranges today, with fuel reduction underway at Jounama in central-northern Kosciuszko National Park.

Smoke may be visible from Canberra in coming days, and roads including the Snowy Mountains Highway may have reduced visibility. Motorists must drive to the conditions.

The majority of this burn should be completed by the weekend but if conditions remain favourable for further hazard reduction burns, smoke will continue in coming weeks.

The NPWS Southern Ranges Region has 31 operations planned to reduce fuels on approximately 35,000 hectares of National Parks’ estate. This autumn’s program includes fuel reduction in Kosciuszko National Park, Brindabella, Woomargama, Yannanumbeyan and other reserves in the region.

All communities around the Snowy Mountains and wider Southern Ranges should expect smoke and ensure their properties are prepared.

NPWS Senior Fire Ranger Ian Dicker said the areas NPWS aimed to treat were strategic in reducing the risk of fire within National Parks estate.

“If conditions allow us to carry out our program, we will create a mosaic of different fuel ages across the landscape,” Mr Dicker said.

“We operate on a rolling three-year burn plan and due to weather constraints, we only achieved approximately 40 per cent of our planned program in 2014, so our goals this year are substantial.

“If conditions allow, there will be regular smoke sightings over the next six weeks as we work our way through the program. All planned burns are shown on the NSW Rural Fire Service website and the free Fires Near me app.”

The NPWS has carried out 80 hazard reduction burns treating nearly 30,000 hectares this financial year.

This represents about three quarters of the total amount of hazard reduction burning conducted across NSW, some of which was conducted with the assistance of the Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire and Rescue.

There are more than 500 other burns scheduled in autumn to take advantage of the opportunity when weather conditions allow safe burning to proceed.

Autumn is a good time to double check your property is well prepared for hazard reduction burning:

  • Remove leaf litter from gutters.
  • Ensure pets are secure within your property and have an area that provides protection for them.
  • Close windows and remove washing from clothes lines.
  • Stay well clear of fire operations during a burn.
  • If you have asthma or a lung condition stay inside or leave the area during a burn.

Contact: Lucy Morrell

Page last updated: 05 March 2015