Canberrans should not be alarmed if they see large plumes of smoke this week as the ACT Parks and Conservation Service begins its autumn program of prescribed burns to reduce fire fuel loads and improve ecosystem health.
Tomorrow (Wednesday), a 12-hectare burn is scheduled for Cooleman Ridge Nature Reserve, off Kathner Street and Darrell Place, Chapman, while an 8ha ecological burn is to be conducted at the Jerrabomberra wetlands.
The Service said that, weather permitting, larger operations are planned to continue through the week and into the weekend.
On Thursday, a 3,012-hectare burn at Smokers in Namadgi National Park, south of Corin Road, east of the Cotter River, is scheduled, as well as 2,157-hectare burn at Blue Gum in Namadgi National Park, eight kilometres south-west of Tharwa.
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The larger burns planned for Thursday are expected to continue for several days.
The following prescribed burns have been planned and will be implemented within the fortnight depending on suitable weather and fuel moisture conditions: Oakey Hill, Aranda Spine, Dunlop, Cooleman Ridge, Smokers, Pine Island, Fairfax, Pinnacle, Wildflower, Blue Gum, Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Mulanggari, Crace, Jerrabomberra Grasslands, and London Bridge.
The Service said experienced Parks fire managers, supported by trained firefighters from the Emergency Services Agency’s Rural Fire Service, would conduct and oversee the burning operations.
“Every effort is made to conduct the burns in weather conditions that will minimise the impact of smoke, but temporary smoke cover is possible across parts of Canberra,” the Service said.
“Staff will continue to monitor the burn sites until smoke has not been visible for 24 hours. A buffer zone of up to 20 metres is also created around the complete perimeter of every prescribed burn.”
It said people with asthma, other chronic respiratory and/or chronic cardiac diseases should not perform vigorous exercise 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.
For more information about upcoming burns follow @ACT_Parks on Twitter, @ACTParks on Facebook or by completing a simple smartform to get all of ACT Parks prescribed burn updates by email.
A map showing the location of all burn sites is available at the Upcoming Prescribed Burns Page.
For tips on how to stay safe if there is smoke in the area, visit the Asthma Foundation website.
The Emergency Services Agency, Australian Federal Police, Air Traffic Control, Roads ACT and the Bureau of Meteorology are advised before any burns are started. Please call Access Canberra on 13 22 81 for more information.