A PLANNED burn was carried out last Thursday along a section of Cody Gully on Ophir Hill, Foster.
Involved in the burn were ten Parks Victoria/DSE personnel and four CFA personnel with a tanker from the Foster CFA and slip-on units from the Yanakie CFA which attach to the back of a land cruiser.
It is vital that these planned burns are carried out in the best possible conditions to ensure that the burn is carried out safely. The effects of variables such as wind direction and speed, relative humidity and temperature are all fully understood by the team.
This particular burn, in a section of the New Zealand Hill Flora Reserve, had been planned for quite some time. Due to the nature of the burn and the relatively close proximity of private land and houses along the south west and north east edges of the burn and also along the South Gippsland Highway, particular weather patterns were absolutely essential for the success of the mission.
These necessary conditions at last created a small window of opportunity with everything falling into place for a successful burn – reducing the overall fuel hazard to break up fuel continuity – creating a buffer zone within 100m of residences.
Prior to planned burns, every possible safety measure is organised with all personnel made fully aware of items such as hydrant and back-up facilities, the expected behaviour of the fire, measures in place to minimise spotting, communication channels and a safety refuge should it become necessary.
Features of each area are also taken into consideration. In this case, in addition to the natural fuel hazard of vegetation and the possibility of dangerous trees, man-made features such as powerlines, ditches, filled in shafts from the mining era and the presence of school holiday traffic along the highway were all taken into account.
All personnel are briefed beforehand of all facets of the burn, to ensure that it is a totally cohesive team which carries out this task.
Another burn on a much smaller scale will be completed in this area when conditions once again allow.