HORSHAM, Dimboola, Nhill, Kaniva, Natimuk and Goroke, and visitors to the Little Desert National Park have been advised that planned burns will begin on Thursday.
The Department of Environment Forest Fire Management and Parks Victoria will carry out the burns if weather conditions permit in the National Park’s central block southern break.
The burns will kick off Forest Fire Management’s autumn planned burning program in the Wimmera.
Forest Fire Management Wimmera acting district Manager Glenn Rudolph said a Southern Break Track burn, about 8 km north of Goroke, will be the first of several similar burns to be carried out within the Little Desert National Park over the next three months.
“These edge and internal break burns are conducted along the edges and within small, defined sections of the park to create strategic firebreaks,” he said.
“Like all Mallee bush landscapes, the Little Desert National Park is particularly fire-prone.Potentially, large and intense wildfires can burn thousands of hectares and dramatically affect the vegetation and wildlife habitats.
“Edge break burning is designed to reduce fuel to lessen the spread and intensity of bushfires originating in the Little Desert National Park, burning wildlife habitat and escaping into surrounding agricultural communities.”
Mr Rudolph said one species that will benefit from this type of burning is the threatened Malleefowl, which relies on long unburnt habitat for breeding.
Smoke from the Little Desert National Park burning program may be visible along the Wimmera Highway/Natimuk-Frances Road to the south; along Nhill-Yanac Road/Western Highway to the north; and from all surrounding townships such as Horsham, Dimboola, Nhill, Kaniva, Natimuk and Goroke.
“During planned burning, the safety of firefighters and the public is our highest priority,” Mr Rudolph said.
“We take all possible precautions to ensure people do not enter areas where planned burns are occurring or where a planned burn has recently been conducted until the area is safe.”
Access to walking tracks, car parks, camping grounds and picnic sites in the areas close to or in burn areas may be restricted.
Signs may be in place to slow traffic and road travel may be hazardous due to low visibility associated with smoke.
Drivers are advised to obey all traffic signs and instructions from fire crews near the burn.
Residents are advised to close windows and doors to prevent smoke from entering and avoid hanging washing out.
Forest Fire Management has advised to stay clear of areas where burns are taking place or in areas that have recently been burned.
If you are experiencing any symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure, the Department of Health advises that you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.