Whilst following strict procedures in response to Covid-19, brigades around the district have been undertaking essential hazard reduction preparation work to ensure these prescribed burns can be done within ideal weather perimeters. In May many crews from NSW RFS Hills and Hornsby districts, and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services (NSW NPWS), participated in the Laybury’s hazard reduction in Canoelands, north of Glenorie. This was a large burn, 761 ha, that was completed successfully over a number of days.

Hazard reduction burns are just one of many ways to reduce the flammable fuel content. With favourable weather, many agencies including NSW RFS, FRNSW and NSW NPWS, have taken the opportunity to conduct these prescribed burns. On the NSW RFS website there is information regarding these burns and how to stay safe, especially if you are affected by smoke.

This includes:
• Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke entering homes
• Keep outdoor furniture under cover to prevent ember burns
• Retract pool covers to prevent ember damage
• Remove washing from clotheslines
• Ensure pets have a protected area
• Vehicles must slow down, keep windows up, turn headlights on
• Sightseers must keep away from burns for their own safety
• If you have asthma or a lung condition, reduce outdoor activities if smoke levels are high and if shortness of breath or coughing develops, take your reliever medicine or seek medical advice

During the favourable weather residents may also take the opportunity to conduct pile burns. It is important that these piles adhere to the requirements on size and type of vegetation being burnt, location of the pile, the time frame in which the pile can be burnt and have access to a reliable source of water at all times. Do not use your pile burns as an opportunity to burn green matter or building materials. As we are currently outside of the bushfire danger period residents will only require a council permit, however, are still required to alert their local Fire Control Centre 24 hours in advance, alongside neighbours. Be mindful that smoke can be seen kilometres away and could prompt a triple zero (000) call from elsewhere. The brigade is required to investigate these calls. If the property owner has done the correct thing in obtaining a council permit, conducting a burn that is considered safe, has notified their Fire Control Centre and neighbours, it is a great help to the crew when they arrive.