The West

DEC has green light to fire up
DEC has green light to fire up

Authorities are gearing up to resume prescribed burning close to townships following the recent lifting of a fire ban.

The ban, which restricted prescribed burning within 5km of towns and rural subdivisions, was putin place by Environment Minister Bill Marmion after last year’s Margaret River bushfire.

The Department of Environment and Conservation has since met risk management criteria.

Mr Marmion said he was pleased the Office of Bushfire Risk Management had approved the DEC’s spring prescribed burning program.

He said the department would prepare maps showing the potential impact of an escape for every prescribed burn under new systems and processes.

The maps would depict rates of spread under a severe fire danger rating.

Acting Donnelly district manager Jeff Bennett said the DEC had met risk management criteria set by the Keelty Special Inquiry into the Margaret River Bushfires review.

‘‘Bill Marmion was happy to lift the prescribed burn ban because we had met all of that criteria,’’ he said.

‘‘The DEC prescribed burns program will be commencing shortly, although there is a potential we will conduct a prescribed burn near Lake Muir this week, depending on weather conditions.

‘‘We will be undertaking those burns with due diligence and care.’’

FESA superintendent for the Lower South West John Tillman said he was pleased to see the ban lifted because it affected FESA’s prescribed burns program.

‘‘The fact these restrictions were lifted means we can continue with our prescribed burns and call on the DEC to assist us where necessary,’’ he said.

‘‘From my perspective there was a lot of concern within the community about what the ban meant, i.e. getting those bans lifted so the DEC could continue with the burns that are necessary.

‘‘It was a process of making sure they had adequate assessment strategies and litigation for prescribed burns in the event they did escape and obviously to minimise the potential for escape in the operation of burns.’’

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