WITH fire conditions picking-up in south east NSW, Forests NSW is reminding visitors and the public to take care in State forests.
“It is essential at this time of the year that forest visitors do not start wild fires and are well aware of fire conditions, so they can stay safe in the forests and also help protect a very valuable community assets,” Forests NSW regional manager Mark Chaplin said.
“Forests NSW has a system of early detection and quick response to bushfire outbreak and it’s most effective when assisted by reports from forest neighbours and the public.
“Fire detection infrastructure in south east NSW includes fire towers manned by the Forests NSW and Department of Sustainability and Environment Victoria, aerial surveillance and forest industry personnel.”
However, Mr Chaplin said there was no substitute for quick and accurate fire reports from the public.
All bushfires should be reported on the emergency ‘000’ telephone number.
Forests NSW officers work closely with the Rural Fire Service and other fire authorities to act on reports of fire. The strong cross-border arrangements between NSW and Victorian authorities, also makes for an effective response to fire reports on both sides of the State border.
Forest visitors are reminded to listen to ABC radio where possible for emergency updates, keep in touch with relatives, and adhere to forest signage regarding fire restrictions such as Solid Fuel Fire Bans, which are now in place.
In anticipation of the increasing frequency of extreme fire conditions, Forests NSW has strengthened its heavy machinery fleet for the Monaro Region, which includes a Forests NSW D8 and D3 bulldozer plus a range of local contract machines suitable for forest operations.
“The responsiveness and quality of local forest contractors has been impressive, with the ongoing investment in earthmoving and forestry machinery,” Mr Chaplin said.
“In addition to protecting assets and local communities, this investment provides a continuation of work and economic stimulation in rural economies.”
He said a key strategy to addressing fire threat was the strategic use of the Forests NSW helicopter and contract aircraft.
“These resources are coordinated regularly between the Forests NSW plantation areas across the State, based on prevailing fire threats. A forestry helicopter will be based at Bombala more frequently in the coming months to assist with surveillance and initial attack in the event of a fire starting,” Mr Chaplin said.
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