Bundabah site visit teaches locals how to plan burns

Doug from Controlled Burning Contractors shows an easy way to tell how the hazard reduction burn will go, lighting a leaf on-site.

BUNDABAH properties played host to some informative field-study of controlled fire management, with a group of local landowners hiking out on Sunday 2 June.

Doug, from Controlled Burning Contractors (CBC) in Salamander Bay, explained how proactive burns of hazard reduction and asset protection are planned and carried out, using some very exhaustive pathways for prescribed burns.

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“Our biggest prescribed fire worry is ‘How do we maintain control?’, taking account of the amount of fuel present, vegetation formation, identifying assets (including plants and animals), making control lines, using the right ignition methods, having communications plans, and understanding hazards.”

Prescribed burns go through a military-like mission briefing, using a standard SMEACS template: Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration, Command and Communications, and Safety Hazards.

“Hazard Reduction Certificates come from the Rural Fire Service (RFS) for specific protection of assets.

“Use them, because they are free and cover you on a range of unwieldy legislation, which can otherwise get costly and complicated,” Doug explained.

The role of Council Local Environmental Plans (LEP) was also discussed.

“Upcoming MidCoast Council LEP changes will update the MidCoast Council LGA to be consistent throughout the State.”

“When you actually get to the burning, always burn into the wind, and have a hard containment nearby, such as a water vehicle, mineral earth lines two metres wide.”

After lunch, catered by Hawks Nest’s Café Providence, attendees began to undertake their own prescribed burn plans, using maps of their properties given to them, and a ‘mosaic’ approach that avoids wiping out entire ecosystems on their land.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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