The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and Parks Victoria will focus efforts on the autumn planned burning program now that fire conditions have eased in Gippsland.
DEPI Land and Fire Regional Manager Grange Jephcott said: “We are mindful of the effect smoke has had on communities in the Latrobe Valley. Planned burning will be carefully managed to minimise impacts in this area.”
“At this point in time there are no burns scheduled to be carried out in the Latrobe Valley in March. The closest will be some smaller regeneration burns around Erica and Noojee.
“As burns are carried out in other parts of Gippsland, there is a chance residents in the Latrobe Valley might still see smoke from burns some distance away, for example in the mountains to the north of the valley.
“Every effort will be made to minimise the effect of smoke on communities by carrying out burns when smoke will clear quickly and wind directions will push smoke away from the Latrobe Valley.
“It’s important we take every opportunity to carry out planned burns when weather conditions are suitable to reduce bushfire risk.
“We have already started the program in the far north-east of the region and will be continuing with burns in public parks and forests across Gippsland to reduce bushfire risk to Victorian communities, property and the environment.”
As more burns are done in other parts of the region, most Gippsland communities will see smoke and some roads and parks may have to be closed for public safety while burns are being undertaken.
Information about where burns will be conducted will be broadcast on local ABC and commercial radio stations.
It is also available on the DEPI planned burn website: www.depi.vic.gov.au/burnsmap, the FireReady app or call the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667.
Callers who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment can contact VBIL via the National Relay Service on 1800 555 677.