Prescribed burn goes to plan

A RECENT prescribed burn in a bluegum plantation north of Mount Barker went without a hitch.

Senior forester Anthony Wise of PF Olsen Forestry Management Services, Albany, managed the burn. “The Shire of Plantagenet asked us to burn the property before the next fire season, to reduce fire risk given its proximity to town,” Mr Wise said.

This type of prescribed burn is known as a harvest slash, which prepares the land for reverting to agricultural activities – cropping or grazing – by killing coppice (regrowth) material.

Remnants of blue gum plantation burning.

“We are trying to get away from burning, to maintain nutrients,” Mr Wise said. “The preference is to do a finer slashing of remaining material following harvest.” The large area was burned in ideal weather conditions, allowing it to be done in a single day and leaving only a few smouldering piles. “Burning is a way to fast-track a return to agriculture,” Mr Wise said.

“We gave notice to the shire and all our neighbours prior to lighting the fire. “This minimised public concerns, forewarned local services, and importantly to at least one resident, allowed time to get the washing off the line.”


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