Shane Rattenbury has laid out a plan to burn baby burn and keep the fuel loads in Canberra’s surrounds manageable:
“This year’s program proposes over 6500 hectares of hazard reduction burns at sites such as Aranda bushland, Black Mountain, Bruce/O’Connor Ridge, Cooleman Ridge, Kowen Forest, Namadgi, Red Hill and Wanniassa Hills. Hazard reduction involves much more than just burning, there is also planned to be over 7500 hectares of slashing across urban and rural sites to create buffer zones. A grazing program covering over 6500 hectares of strategic locations has also commenced along with 65 hectares of physical fuel removal.
“A range of access improvements and maintenance work are proposed to be undertaken at sites across Canberra to help in the response to any bushfires. This includes upgrades to Mount Franklin Road and Bendora Break in Namadgi National Park, Macarthur Hill in suburban Canberra as well as maintenance to fire trails at Calwell, Hume, Mt Rogers, Red Hill, Tidbinbilla and Wanniassa Hills.
“This work follows on from last year’s BOP which was the largest program undertaken in the ACT in 40 years. Last year 96 per cent of the BOP was completed including 42 controlled burns totalling over 12,500 hectares, 8000 hectares of slashing, 7000 hectares of grazing, 74 hectares of physical fuel removal and over 650 kilometres of fire trail maintenance and upgrade.
“This year’s program specifically addresses the risk of grassfires which are expected to be the most significant bushfire management issue this fire season. However, as with all operational plans, there is also scope for flexibility as priorities change with the seasonal conditions.