TFS urges urban fringe burn-offs

FORCED fuel-reduction burns have been suggested to reduce fire risk on the urban fringe, but the state government is not committing to the concept.

At the weekend, Tasmania Fire Service chief Mike Brown highlighted the need for fuel reduction burns in fire-prone suburbs.

He was commenting in response to Labor criticism of the state government's $28.5 million policy to burn 60,000 hectares of public land a year, for four years.

Yesterday, farmers and Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten  highlighted the importance of fire risk management.

Alderman van Zetten said the council was concerned about fire risk on the urban fringe and had this year taken its concerns to the state government.

He said it was a complex area, but the state government had to find a solution.

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association chief executive Jan Davis said new regulations mandating burn-offs may be needed to meet the problem of multiple land owners (public and private) on the urban fringe.

She said farmers were facing added pressure by urban dwellers moving to traditional farming areas and having expectations about fire safety, but sometimes being  less engaged than farmers in volunteering to fight fires.

A state government spokesperson said the Liberals had a clear policy on fuel reduction to ensure  communities were protected.

The $28.5 million fuel reduction policy would go ahead, and it would be easier for private landowners to protect  property with a ``fuel reduction first'' policy.

This would require proof that a fuel reduction burn would have an adverse environmental effect for a permit to be denied.


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