Bushfire plan identifies risk areas

Riverina Highlands RFS District Co-ordinator Peter Jones with a map part of the bushfire risk management plan.

GOOBARRAGANDRA, Talbingo, Brindabella and Cabramurra have been indentified as the top risks in the Snowy Valleys Bush Fire Management Committee’s new draft bushfire risk management plan.

“These places are surrounded by bush, but they aren’t totally vulnerable, as was shown when Cabramurra survived a bushfire in 2003,” Riverina Highlands RFS dDistrict Co-ordinator Peter Jones said.

The Snowy Valleys Bush Fire Management Committee is made up of representatives of organisations including Riverina Highlands RFS, Fire and Rescue, National Parks and Wildlife, State Forests, Local Government, Lands Department, Farmers Federation and Aboriginal Lands Council.

It has produced the draft plan less than two years after the Riverina Highlands Rural Fire Service developed one for its area.

“In March 2016 we developed a bushfire risk management plan, but then the council merger came and stuffed everything,” Riverina Highlands RFS District Coordinator Peter Jones said.

It wasn’t a total loss, as much of what went into this plan was able to be re-used for the latest draft plan, just without the parts relating to the Gundagai area.

“We have also modified a couple of little things to do with treatment of risk areas,” Mr Jones said.

“For instance, Talbingo was assessed as medium level risk last time, but it has gone up a level to high. Risk is assessed on factors like the distance of the town from the bush, the type of vegetation, how prepared residents are and how aware they are of fire danger.”

In the plan, areas and assets are assessed for risk and methods of treatment prescribed for them, such as hazard reduction burns and fire education.

Individual properties are not considered assets in themselves, for example the town of Tumut is considered an asset.

The draft plan can be viewed at the Riverina Highlands RFS office in Capper Street, Tumut, where it can be printed up for those interested, and at Snowy Valleys Council’s Tumut and Tumbarumba offices.

It will be on display until July 11, and submissions invited.

“There will be a meeting of the Bush Fire Management Committee in September, and the submissions will be endorsed or considered, and the plan modified accordingly,” Mr Jones said.

“It will then go to the Bushfire Co-ordanative Committee in Sydney for approval.”