Aerial fire trail inspections ‘take off’ in Dubbo

Helicopter inspections of fire trails take off from Dubbo Airport tomorrow morning (Friday) to check that trails are in good condition in preparation for the summer bushfire season.

Member for the Dubbo electorate Dugald Saunders said aerial inspections in the region are being conducted by Crown Lands in conjunction with the Rural Fire Service.

“Aerial inspections will allow local fire trails to be efficiently checked and any areas identified for maintenance to ensure fire trails are ready to go for firefighters if blazes break out this summer,” Mr Saunders said.

“Fire combat agencies the Rural Fire Service, Fire & Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Forestry Corporation all rely on properly maintained fire trails.

“While ongoing wet weather has dampened immediate bushfire risk, it has also caused erosion in some areas and sparked vegetation growth, which needs to be managed before the hot and dry weather returns.”

Crown Lands conducts the aerial inspections together with the Rural Fire Service, with the Soil Conservation Service doing follow-up work on any ground maintenance required.

Minister for Lands and Water Kevin Anderson said helicopter inspections are more efficient than four-wheel drive checks in remote locations, and where fire trails cross multiple land boundaries.

“Inspections identify if trees have fallen and need removal; if erosion or vegetation growth has impacted trails; and if watercourse crossings require repair,” Mr Anderson said.

“Other work includes constructing and maintaining fire vehicle passing and turning bays, signage, and gates to protect trails from illegal access and dumping.

“Well maintained fire trails allow firefighters to get quick and safe access to fight blazes when they break out to stop them spreading to minimise property damage and risk to life.”

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