Burn-offs keep fire risk low

Burn-offs keep fire risk low

Photograph – Richard Polden.

An increase in prescribed burning, also known as controlled burning, has seen more frequent smoke alerts being issued across Western Australia.

In the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale quite a number of burn offs have occurred in the areas surrounding Mundijong and Jarrahdale.

Prescribed burning is when fires are lit on purpose and designed to maintain and manage the land.

The goal of this is usually to reduce the amount of vegetation, creating less risk during the summer bushfire season.

In Western Australia, burn offs are generally conducted during Autumn and Spring when the weather is not too hot and dry that winds whip the fires out of control.

It’s believed around eight per cent of the total forest region in Western Australia needs to be burned to have a mitigating effect on bushfires.

Parks and Wildlife conduct these burns every year to mitigate the severity of bushfires and protect lives as well as property.

According to Parks and Wildlife, burn offs are also a way to maintain biodiversity and rehabilitate vegetation after disturbance such as timber harvesting and mining.

Burn offs are also used to undertake research on fire and its interaction with the environment.

The process of conducting prescribed burns involves careful planning, consultation and monitoring.

These considerations vary from what vegetation needs to be burnt and what needs to be left alone, through to considering the history and variety of past fire events over the landscape.

Where the land is maintained and managed by Parks and Wildlife, they are responsible for the burns but the department often works with local government and DFES to conduct their prescribed burning programs as a joint exercise.

These burns often leave smoke in the area and residents are urged to take caution and regularly keep up to date with https://www.emergency.wa.gov.au to see where prescribed burns and warnings are in their area.