Smoky Snowies in burnoff campaign

THE Snowy Mountains and wider Southern Ranges region can expect smoky skies over coming days as the Parks Service begins their autumn hazard reduction burning program.

Weather permitting, burns are scheduled to commence in the coming days, with crews starting to reduce fuels on several blocks near the northern end of Lake Eucumbene.

Fuel reduction burning for safer summers will continue as long as weather conditions remain favourable. The autumn program has 29 burns planned in national parks and reserves, including Kosciuszko, Brindabella, and Yaouk.

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Regional Manager Mick Pettitt said these locations were a priority as they would soon experience winter conditions unsuitable for burning.

"If conditions allow, our autumn program will strategically reduce fuel loads on about 20,000 hectares to build on the 30,000 hectares we treated last autumn," Mr Pettitt said.

"We develop our burning program with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) and other agencies so activities complement each other and together we achieve the best result.

"Several of our burns this season will be cooperative efforts with Victorian and ACT agencies."

Mr Pettitt said direct neighbours would be contacted prior to hazard reduction burning operations. He encouraged people to visit the RFS website for information about hazard reduction across all land tenures.

"We are mindful that many people in the area have been subject to days of thick smoke from the recent Victorian fires and NPWS will work to minimise the impact as best we can," Mr Pettitt said.

The risk to properties during these burns will be low, however non fire-fighting personnel are asked to stay well clear of fire operations during the burn.

If you have asthma or a lung condition it is recommended that you close all windows stay inside or leave the area during the burn. Remove washing from clothes lines if there is smoke in your area.

The NPWS has undertaken 254 hazard reduction activities covering 47,069 hectares in total, including 119 hazard reduction burn operations for 2013-14.

Under the Enhanced Bushfire Management Program, NPWS will pursue its plan to treat an average of over 135,000 hectares per year in 800 or more planned hazard reduction activities. Achieving this will be highly dependent on the suitability of weather conditions given the narrow window of opportunity that exists in NSW for burning safely and effectively.

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