More hazard reduction burns to help prevent bushfires

Friday 8 Mar 2019

Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said he is open to more hazard reduction burns to help prevent bushfires, if the weather conditions are right. Some residents affected by the recent Victorian bushfires, particularly in the Bunyip area, have expressed anger over what they claim has been a lack of backburning in the area.

Mr Crisp told The Today show’s Tom Steinfort on Wednesday that planned burns in the Bunyip area had taken place in 2016 and 2017, but that “two years of record low rainfall” had resulted in “the window for planned burns” decreasing.

He also commended emergency crews for doing “an absolutely fantastic job” while pointing to the continuing battle against more than 30 fires, somewhat aided by improving weather conditions. More than 40 towns and 40,000 hectares of land have been affected by the bushfires, as well as at least 30 structures destroyed or damaged by blazes including the Bunyip Sate Park bushfire. Emergency Management Commissioner for Victoria Andrew Crisp yesterday said firefighters on the ground at each of the fires are still patrolling and focused on saving what they can.

Meanwhile, some residents have accused authorities of doing “nothing” to stop the fierce fires. Winemaker Andrew Clarke of Jinks Creek and his family fled the Bunyip State Park fire, but watched their wine bar, gallery and home of 40 years go up in flames on Sunday. "We are so devastated and I have tried to get the message through to Parks Victoria for years and years. And nothing has been done," Mr Clarke told the Today Show.

"We have lost everything and I honestly believe if they had done a lot more work as the (Black Saturday) royal commission recommended, this wouldn't have been as disastrous.

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