SIX controlled burns have been planned for Ballarat this spring, but poor weather has prevented any from being conducted so far.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries’(DEPI) fire operations plan for the Grampians region lists seven planned burns for the City of Ballarat this financial year, 10 for the Golden Plains Shire, 13 for Hepburn, 22 for the Moorabool and seven for the Pyrenees Shire.
DEPI Midlands district manager Jon Rofe said burns were always planned during spring and autumn each year.
“Generally you get the more stable weather patterns in autumn, so it’s a good time to burn,” he said.
“In spring you can get more wind and more rainfall, so it’s about identifying that window of opportunity.”
Mr Rofe said it took more than just the perfect day for a burn to occur.
“You really need a number of days in a row of good conditions,” he said.
“The first day can be quite good, but the next day could be windy so you really have to wait until you have two or three good days.”
Mr Rofe said a number of burns were conducted during autumn in 2013 and spring 2012, but there was a constant, rolling plan for future efforts.
“We’ve conducted burns around Mount Macedon, the Wombat State Forest, Invermay, the area between Ballarat and Creswick and the forest areas around Beaufort,” he said.
“We do have a number planned for this spring, but it has been pretty wet so we’re just waiting for the right opportunity.”
The DEPI plans to ramp-up its burning operations over the next few years, with 38,271 hectares planned for 2013-14, 40,491 hectares for 2014-15 and 52,155 hectares in 2015-16.
The fire operations plans, which outline the rolling three-year fire control schedule, include planned burning, slashing, mowing and clearing works, creating and maintaining fuel breaks and carrying out fire infrastructure maintenance.
Each year the plans are updated with new information to help work out what, where and how often to burn.
The latest update occurred this month.
The DEPI say the plans are designed to be flexible, allowing the timing of proposed activities over the three-year period to change in response to weather and other conditions.
This means burns may be carried out in a different year than indicated in the plan.