Planned burns to go ahead, weather permitting

Three planned burns are expected to go ahead today as the Environment Department takes advantage of the last opportunity to burn off before summer.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Murray Goldfields district manager Paul Bates said the department planned to conduct burns in Kangaroo Flat, Huntly and Chinamans Hill “depending on the weather”, while a fourth burn in Golden Square was called off.

“The first two fuel reduction burns will be a 56-hectare burn at Irwin Lane in Kangaroo Flat and a two-hectare burn at Chinamans Hill, two kilometres north west of Rushworth,” he said.

“Also on today, a planned burn around three hectares in size will be conducted at Viola Road in Huntly.”

Mr Bates said, again weather permitting, the cancelled 23-hectare Golden Square burn would go ahead at Specimen Hill Channel on Saturday.

“The aim of conducting the burns is to reduce the overall fuel hazard within the burn area and in turn, provide added protection from bushfire to neighbouring communities,” he said.

“The landscape is drying out as we move into summer and we have a brief period in which to reduce the fuel hazard in these areas through planned burning.

“To effectively reduce fuel, we need to carry out burns in the bush and in areas close to communities.”

Mr Bates said the burns close to residential areas were “carried out by experienced Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters, under carefully managed conditions”, and advised residents not to panic if they saw smoke.

“We ask that if people see smoke and are concerned, they ring the VicEmergency Hotline, not triple zero,” he said.

“It is important triple zero is only used in case of emergency if you see flames.”