Bushfire plan out for comment

Blue Mountains RFS district manager Superintendent David Jones and Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage studying a copy of the draft Blue Mountains Bushfire Risk Management Plan.

Blue Mountains RFS district manager Superintendent David Jones and Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage studying a copy of the draft Blue Mountains Bushfire Risk Management Plan.

Blue Mountains Rural Fire Service (RFS) district manager David Jones is encouraging local residents and businesses to give feedback on the draft Blue Mountains Bushfire Risk Management Plan, which is on public exhibition until September 30.

Superintendent Jones said the draft plan aims to minimise the risk of adverse impacts of bushfires on life, property and the environment in the Blue Mountains for a five-year period.

"Part of it is identifying risk and working with land managers to do hazard reduction, which can occur in several forms," he said.

"Part of it is providing more effective community education and advice, updating bushfire management zone maps and the Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSP) list and investigating options for a Southern Strategic Corridor to better protect the townships on the southern side [of the escarpment between Narrow Neck and the Nepean River].

"The Northern Strategic Corridor was utilised when attacking the recent State Mine fire in the Grose Valley and proved very effective, so we need to identify a line on the southern side using natural topography, cliff and creek lines and things life fire trails.

"I'm pretty proud of what we've [the Blue Mountains Bushfire Management Committee] come up with and are now looking for all the feedback, comments and ideas from the public and all the brigades as well so we can come up with the best outcome.

"Without getting that feedback it makes that process much more challenging."

Superintendent Jones said the number of NSPs across the Blue Mountains is planned to rise from 18 to 22.

"NSPs are really a last resort for people to go to during bushfire emergencies because many of them are just open areas without necessarily there being assistance services available, so the best thing people should continue to do is to make their own household Bushfire Survival Plan."

Superintendent Jones said the next bushfire season - officially commencing on October 1 but subject to change - could be severe, with the weather bureau forecasting a drier than normal summer. "There's also been a lot of wet weather early on this year, resulting in higher vegetation growth rates.

"So there are some big fuel loads out there in some locations."

Blue Mountains MP Roza Sage said a vital lesson to come out of the recent bushfires is the "absolute importance of preparation".

"The Blue Mountains Bushfire Risk Management Plan is a fundamental aspect of that process and I encourage as many people in the community as possible to explore this draft and provide input where necessary," Mrs Sage said.

The plan can be downloaded at www.bluemountains.rfs.nsw.gov.au.

Copies can be ordered by calling 4784-7444 or can be viewed at Blue Mountains libraries, council offices, the NPWS Heritage Centre at Govetts Leaps, Blackheath and at the RFS district office at the corner of Valley and Bathurst Roads, Katoomba.

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