On 9 January Ballarat Fire Brigade with the support from several other brigades successfully completed a controlled burn along Tinworth Avenue, Mount Clear.
The 0.7 hectare burn was scheduled to reduce the risk within the area and to promote regrowth of native vegetation. The low-intensity burn began at 1pm and was completed by 6pm.
Ballarat Fire Brigade Captain Mark Cartledge emphasised burning off isn’t as simple as you may think because a lot of preplanning is involved.
“A lot of work goes into it to make sure planned burns are successful and safe,” Mark said. “Hours of writing burn plans, notifications to residents, checking weather forecasts, notifications to other agencies, taking weather readings on site, measuring fuel moisture content, organising crews, organising traffic control, getting approvals from CFA commanders and other key parties. All this is even before we strike the first match.
“We even undertake heritage and biodiversity checks.
“A burn permit is issued to brigades with very strict conditions on them and the extensive burn plan had more conditions that we need to comply with.”
The location sits within a bushfire prone area that was declared after the devastating 2009 fires. There is also major infrastructure in close proximity which makes it a high-risk area.
“The burn was a very slow and controlled burn,” Mark said. “The area is a mixture of vegetation, grass and bushland so it was important to take our time and clean the area up to promote native regrowth.
“The fire was 350 metres by 30 metres wide.
“Unfortunately, near the end of the burn the wind changed direction and started to impact local residence. I’d like to say thanks to the residence for their patience while we completed this burn.”
Crew members continued to monitor the area for a few days in case any smouldering areas appeared.
“Over the past few months we’ve seen a number of deliberate fires started in the area. Vegetation Management Officer Ian Morrison and I saw this as a concern and wanted to complete the planned burn to give better protection to private property and the infrastructure in the area.
“The area we burnt is also a significant roadside vegetation site and this burn will assist with the promotion and reestablishment of native grasses and other plants.
“The burn was well received by the community with a number of good comments coming from those I spoke to.
“One thing I did notice while undertaking the letter box drop on Thursday was that there was a small number of houses that had leaves and debris in their spouts around the house, but by Saturday these had all been cleaned out.
“It was also a great training exercise for members, providing them with a great opportunity to practice as a lot of our new members haven’t seen fire before so it’s a great opportunity to learn about fire behaviour.
“I would like to thank all members from our supporting brigades who attended today and the people behind the scenes preparing for the burn,” Mark added. “We have now created a low fire risk rating in the area.
Support was received Ballarat City Fire Brigade, Miners Rest Fire Brigade, Glen Park Fire Brigade, Sebastopol Fire Brigade, Buninyong-Mount Helen Fire Brigade and Ballarat Council.
Video Credit: Stuart Morris