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Planned burns start in Victoria

Central Victoria’s first planned burn of 2020 will take place on Wednesday despite the continuing fire danger period in the first of about 30 burns planned before next season’s fire danger period. Forest Fire Management Victoria will burn 81 hectares two kilometres to the west of St Arnaud at the town’s Tower Track ahead of milder weather conditions. Source: Timberbiz

“Victoria is one of the most bushfire prone regions in the world,” Forest Fire Management Victoria chief fire officer Chris Hardman said.

“While planned burning will never be a cure-all, it is a key part of bushfire preparedness.”

Areas including the Dandenong Ranges, Mount Dandenong, Upwey, Olinda, the Macedon Ranges and Bendigo will be the first to undergo burn-offs.

Controlled burns are also scheduled for the south-west at Colac, Cressy and Camperdown, and around townships along the Great Ocean Road.

The amount of prescribed planned burning carried out in the state last year became a point of contention during last summer’s fire season.

Authorities said that dry conditions made back burning extremely difficult in the previous year, but denied the state wasn’t prepared for the fire season.

A $2.55 million inquiry will be held into this year’s deadly bushfires, with the first report due in the middle of 2020.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the response to the summer’s fires had already been influenced by the royal commission into the fatal 2009 Black Saturday bushfires.

A federal royal commission has also been established, which will also examine fuel loads and the management of hazard-reduction burns.