State Forests plans major hazard reduction burn near Napoleon Reef

If you see smoke east of Napoleon Reef and Walang tomorrow (Thursday 6 May) it will most probably be State Forests conducting a major hazard reduction burn in Sunny Corner State Forest on Mt Ovens as part of its annual hazard reduction program.

“Smoke may drift into neighbouring communities and may settle in low-lying areas. The burn will also be particularly visible from most parts of Bathurst and sections of the Great Western Highway,” State Forests operations manager John Whittall said.

It will be a joint burn with help from the Rural Fire Service, Transgrid and private property owners.

The burn will cover approximately 700 hectares with the objective to reduce fuels to protect both the plantations and nearby private property from fire.

“It has been a very difficult season to get on with our usual hazard reduction program. Normally we would have been finished by now, but due to the lack of rain we have had to do our hazard reduction burning later in the year,” Mr Whittall said.

He said fuel levels on Mt Ovens have become significant and it was important to take advantage of the good autumn weather conditions to control them before we head into next summer.

On Saturday (8 May) State Forests also plans to continue taking advantage of the favourable weather conditions to conduct another large hazard reduction burn south of the Great Western Highway near Yetholme.

The Rural Fire Service will also be participating in this burn, which will cover about 800 hectares.

State Forests will be providing considerable resources to effectively complete both hazard reduction burns, including a helicopter, fire tankers and fire-fighting personnel.

Mr Whittall said each burn was carefully planned with the environmental impact carefully assessed.

“Before a burn, State Forests makes sure it monitors weather forecasts and conditions on the day, and also ensures there is adequate fire-fighting equipment and personnel in case things don’t go to plan,” he said.

District Bushfire Management Committees approve all State Forests’ hazard reduction burns.

Media contact: John Whittall on (02) 63 31 2044 or 0429 449 813.