By Taylah Eastwell
Smoke will be visible across the Hills and Yarra Valley over the next week as Forest Fire Management Victoria ignite a series of planned burns.
Several burns are planned in the Dandenong Ranges and Upper Yarra to help protect communities and critical infrastructure, including Melbourne’s water catchments and TV towers.
Crews ignited an 80-hectare burn at Kyeema Track, Mount Dandenong on Tuesday 6 April.
The burn will be carried out over three days and is expected to be complete by Thursday evening. According to Forest Fire Management Victoria, the burn is an important fuel reduction burn to help protect communities, businesses and telecommunications infrastructure in Mount Dandenong and neighbouring suburbs. The area of the burn and surrounding tracks will be closed until deemed safe.
A 40-hectare burn is also planned along Gladysdale-Prices Rd, 3km south west of Gladysdale this week, as well as an 80-hectare-burn on Mt Little Joe Track at Millgrove.
An 167-hectare burn-off is also planned along Healesville Road.
Forest Fire Management Victoria said in a statement that it is important crews take every opportunity to burn-off while conditions are right to reduce bushfire risk.
“The 2019/20 fires caused some of the worst smoke impacts we have experienced in the state. By doing planned burns first, we aim to keep future bushfires smaller and less intense, resulting in less smoke. We thank everyone for bearing with us while we conduct this important work,” the statement read.
Smoke is expected to impact outer-eastern communities including Mt Dandenong, The Basin, Kilsyth, Millgrove, Wesburn and Healesville for the remainder of the week.
At times, smoke from planned burning may affect people’s health. People with health conditions should follow their prescribed treatment plan from their doctor. Minimise smoke exposure by reducing your level of exercise during smoky conditions. Stay indoors and keep windows closed until the smoke passes.
To find out when and where planned burns are happening near you, visit www.vic.gov.au/plannedburns or call 1800 226 226.