Burns progress well: DSE

RECENT mild conditions have allowed planned burning to continue in most parts of Gippsland, resulting in the Department of Sustainability and Environment says is good progress in many areas.

The burns have also created smoke across the region.

DSE land and fire manager Grange Jephcott said this was the time of year when most planned burning was done, as there was only a small window of opportunity when conditions were right for burns to be carried out to reduce fuel loads on public land.

He said fuel reduction burns to protect communities had been completed or partially completed near communities such as Neerim South, Tyers, Alberton West, Briagolong, Buchan, Benambra, Bemm River, Cann River, Goongerah and Genoa.

Mr Jephcott said ecological burns to promote and protect biodiversity had been conducted in state forests, parks and reserves across the region.

He said these burns had dual benefits as they reduced fuel at the same time as protecting plants and animals that needed fire to survive and thrive.

People will continue to see or smell smoke in many parts of the region as the planned burning program progresses whenever weather conditions are suitable.

“We know that coming out of a busy fire season people might still be worried about bushfires, but we urge that if people see smoke and are concerned, they should ring the Victorian Bushfire Information Line, not triple zero, or go to the DSE website to see if a planned burn is nearby,” Mr Jephcott said.

“It is important triple zero is only used in case of emergency if you see flames.

“We thank the community for their patience as we progress with the planned burning program whenever we can to reduce the risk of bushfires to people, property and communities,” he said.

To find out where and when planned burns are happening visit www.dse.vic.gov.au/burns, phone the Victorian Bushfire Information Line on 1800 240 667 or listen to your local radio station.

The FireReady smartphone application also shows planned burns ignited today on a map.

For information about fire restrictions, fire bans and fires on private land visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au

People experiencing symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure should seek medical advice or phone the on call nurse on 1300 60 60 24.

People with asthma and other respiratory or heart conditions should try to stay indoors, reduce their exercise, keep taking their medications and follow their asthma plan.

Road travel may be hazardous because of low visibility associated with smoke.

If driving through smoke, slow down, turn headlights on and obey all traffic signs.