The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is ‘committed to delivering an increased planned burning program as a key means of managing bushfire risk,’ according to a letter to stakeholders last week.
In other words, it’s business as usual, despite the fact that there’s an enquiry currently in progress to find out if this ‘business as usual’ is really making anyone safer.
This means that there’s no reason for residents to relax their vigilance on the Department’s fire practices. The good news is that it’s become easier to get advance news of when burns are going to happen. The same letter reads:
‘I am pleased to advise you that we have recently developed a new opt-in tool that allows you to create a customised account for receiving automated notifications about upcoming planned burns on public land. You can now select any areas or specific planned burns you wish to be notified about, when you want to be notified (within 10 days, next 24 hrs or in progress) and how you want to be notified (SMS and/or email). There is no charge to register or to receive messages’.
Here’s how to register to get notification of burns:
‘Visit Advice on Planned Burning or the Fire Operations Plans webpages on the DELWP website. A link on these pages goes to a dedicated page www.delwp.vic.gov.au/pbns.
‘There are two options:
‘1. Users can type the name of a town, suburb, address or postcode in the location search bar. Once people have subscribed to a location they will automatically be registered for all burns within 10 km of the location, from all three years of the FOP;
‘2. AND/OR – Users can subscribe to a specific burn by selecting from the list of burns – you
can filter the list by District, burn name, burn year or burn number, if known.’
FOBIF recommends that members put themselves in the system. The Department is opening itself to scrutiny: and it’s up to us to oblige by scrutinising their practices.