THE Far South Coast Region of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is preparing for a safe and early start to the fire hazard reduction season as soon as weather conditions allow, which forecasts indicate may be in the coming days.
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Greenfields Beach hazard reduction near Vincentia earlier earlier this fire season. Photo: NPWS.

Prescribed burns are planned in the region during the next two weeks if forecasted conditions remain favourable. Most of these hazard reduction burns will be in remote areas of National Parks as follows: Postmans Track area in South East Forests National Park Green Cape Heath in Ben Boyd National Park Bombay area in Tallaganda National Park People living around or visiting areas near to coastal ranges and valleys may notice smoke and helicopters. Some fire trails may be closed during operations.

NPWS Regional Manager for the Far South Coast Tim Shepherd said 32 hazard reduction burns were planned this season in the region to reduce fuels on around 20,000 hectares.

“These burns are intended to provide strategic fire advantages that reduce the potential for high intensity wildfire affecting adjacent lands in the future,” Mr Shepherd said. “I remind everyone to observe road closures and heed instructions from fire crews. Do not enter any fire ground because they are dangerous places where tree fall is common for a week or so after fire.”

Every effort is made to minimise the impact of smoke, however take basic precautions and drive to the conditions. The risk to properties during these burns will be low, however to ensure your property is well prepared:

* Remove leaf litter from gutters.

* Ensure pets are secure within your property and have an area that provides protection for them.

* Close all windows and remove washing from clothes lines.

* Stay well clear of fire operations during the burn.

* If you have asthma or a lung condition it is recommended that you stay inside or leave the area during the burn.

Prescribed burning is the use of planned fire to protect life, property and the environment by reducing fuel levels and maintaining the health of plants and animals.

Once the Far South Coast Region NPWS program starts it will continue at every opportunity towards completion in conjunction with the Rural Fire Service and the Forestry Corporation of NSW where appropriate.

The NPWS has undertaken 254 hazard reduction activities covering 47,069 hectares in total, including 119 hazard reduction burn operations for 2013-14. In 2012-13 the NPWS achieved a record 208,000 hectares in 1300 separate fuel reduction activities.

This was 83 per cent of the total hazard reduction effort for NSW, demonstrating a clear commitment by NPWS to manage fire in accordance with its Living with Fire 2012-21 strategy.

Under the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program, NPWS will pursue its plan to treat an average of over 135,000 hectares per year in 800 or more planned hazard reduction activities.

Achieving this will be highly dependant on the suitability of weather conditions given the narrow window of opportunity that exists in NSW for burning safely and effectively.

Read more about hazard reduction burns planned in your area: http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/

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