Some planned burns going ahead, some not

Some planned burns going ahead, some not

Coronavirus
BLOCKED: Caramut CFA volunteers Geoff Howley, Aaron Pascoe and Bobby Mann were prevented from completing a roadside burn due to CFA operating procedure rules. Picture: Morgan Hancock.

BLOCKED: Caramut CFA volunteers Geoff Howley, Aaron Pascoe and Bobby Mann were prevented from completing a roadside burn due to CFA operating procedure rules. Picture: Morgan Hancock.

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Planned burns are generally going ahead, but some regions have put burns on hold.

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In the midst of coronavirus restrictions, fire authorities are assuring rural communities that there will be no impact on emergency responses.

The call comes as authorities look to balance emergency responses and crew safety with planned burn activities.

A CFA spokesperson said Victoria's planned burning program was safe to continue under current health advice regarding smoke impacts on the community.

"However, CFA is working to balance our participation in planned burns with the need to prioritise emergency responses and protect our critical workforce from COVID-19," the spokesperson said.

"To that end, some CFA regions have scaled back or postponed their planned burning program.

"CFA leads a small fraction of Victoria's planned burns and some of the program is continuing. Forest Fire Management Victoria burns as well as private land burns and agricultural burns are continuing at present."

Individual CFA crews were also continuing to support Forest Fire Management burns where appropriate.

The CFA would continue to advise communities of planned burns in their area as soon as possible.

The North West CFA Region has suspended all CFA burning during this autumn, region Community Safety, Fire & Emergency Management manager David Allen, said.

He said most CFA led burns across the region were in grassland (often roadsides).

He said that in these cases better risk reduction results could be achieved in both spring and early summer.

"Burn planning will actually increase over the next few months to ensure increased fuel management risk reduction is ready for implementation later this calendar year," Mr Allen said.

A Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) spokesperson said that under the current health advice, its planned burning program could continue as normal for now..

"Reducing fuel is essential to keeping Victorians safe and while it can be done safely, we will look for every opportunity to do so," the spokesperson said.

This summer the Caramut fire brigade has been prevented from carrying out its usual roadside burns.

The brigade cited rules that meant it had to use only CFA tankers with full crews rather than one CFA tanker supported by private units.

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