FOBIF has received a response to its submission on the Fire Operations Plan from Andrew Koren, DEPI program manager for planned burning in this region.
In brief, DEPI has responded to our concerns with the following points:
1. The Government is committed to increasing its planned burning; at the same time it is developing a strategic risk management approach for ‘prioritising fuel management’. It doesn’t seem to see the contradiction between these two approaches.
2. The statewide 5% target is being pursued. However, ‘Murray Goldfields is capped at approximately 4% or 14,000 hectares, this in recognition of the unique vegetation that occurs in the Murray Goldfields district.’
3. We can’t see burn plans because they’re subject to change based on weather conditions and other factors.
4. The pine plantations are Hancock business, but DEPI ‘is aware’ that Hancocks ‘undertake fire management works’.
5. DEPI is keen to cooperate on the matter of weed infestations.
6. On specific burns: the very large Gower Cemetery Rd fire, in the Muckleford Forest, has been taken out of the current plan, presumably to be done later; the Dunn’s Reef fire, also in the Muckleford forest, ‘is not all planned for treatment’; and DEPI is willing to discuss the Gough’s Range fire.
FOBIF will be following up all these points.