The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has begun vital prescribed burning in the Kimberley region in an effort to lessen the risk of severe bushfires this dry season.
The burn program aims to cover four million hectares this year and will be conducted in partnership with the Kimberley Land Council, Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC), local governments and private property owners.
DFES Kimberley Superintendent Grant Pipe said that while the program had been running for many years, its benefits were receiving greater recognition resulting in more pastoralists joining the project.
“So far 35 pastoralists have indicated that they will participate in the burning program this year, an increase of five on last year, which means more Kimberley land will be protected from a late season bushfire,” Mr Pipe said.
“Bushfires happen every dry season, they can start suddenly and without warning particularly in the highest risk period of August to late October.
“Prescibed burns are a vital tool to help us protect life, livestock and the unique northern ecosystem. These burns also lessen the impact of bushfires on local communities and infrastructure.”
Mr Pipe said for the second year volunteer firefighters would be involved in the burning program which provided an opportunity for training on how to correctly conduct fuel reduction burns.
The program focuses on reducing the fuel loads near road sides, including along the Great Northern Highway, and on pastoral land. Aerial burns have already begun in pastoral areas near El Questro.
Town mitigation burns are scheduled for Broome, Derby and Fitzroy Crossing from 29 April until late May.
Mr Pipe said that people did not need to ring 000 to report controlled burning fires unless they believed lives or homes were under threat.
He reminded tourists and motorists to be careful when travelling through affected areas and on roads that might be impacted by smoke.
“If you come across smoke on the road you should stay calm, turn your headlights on and drive slowly,” he said.
Property owners can contact the DFES Kimberley Regional Office on 9158 3200 for more information.
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