11 September 2020

Smoke signals start of hazard reduction burns

| Kim Treasure
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ACT Parks and Conservation Service prescribed burn

Prescribed burns are occurring today in the Majura and Kowen forests. Photo: ACT Parks and Conservation Service.

Smoke plumes visible across sections of the ACT today are part of ACT Parks and Conservation Service efforts to reduce the fuel load in the lead up to this year’s bushfire season.

The two prescribed burns are underway at Majura and Kowen Forest.

The Kowen Forest burn is being conducted to remove a large pile of pine debris and reduce the potential for fire during summer.

The Haines burn at Majura is expected to continue over the next week and will remove 17 piles of dead timber stacked as part of a rabbit control program. The burn will also help control small areas of invasive African Lovegrass.

In making the decision to start the prescribed burns, the ACT Parks and Conservation Service says it has considered concerns people may have following the Orroral Valley bushfire, and the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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Experienced fire managers are overseeing the burning operations.

“Every effort is made to conduct burns in weather conditions that will minimise the impact of smoke, but temporary smoke cover is possible and may be visible across parts of Canberra,” a spokesperson said.

“ACT Parks and Conservation Service will take appropriate precautions in line with the physical distancing and hygiene requirements that are in place due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“As part of managing the prescribed burn to its conclusion, a buffer zone of up to 20 metres is also created around the complete perimeter of each prescribed burn.”

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People with asthma, other chronic respiratory and/or chronic cardiac diseases are being warned not to perform vigorous exercise during the period of the burn and should stay inside if affected by the smoke. People with asthma, in particular, should continue their medication and consult their general practitioner if they have any difficulties.

Information and health advice for dealing with outdoor smoke can also be found by visiting ACT Health.

For tips on how to stay safe if there is smoke in the area, visit the Asthma Foundation website.

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