Crown Lands crew members Paul Crain, David Stapleton and Cindy Garner with Helisurveys pilot Calum Harrison conducted aerial fire trail inspections across the Central West and Central Tablelands regions, which included Condobolin and the Lachlan Shire, as part of a statewide inspection program leading into summer recently. Image Credit: NSW Department of Planning and Environment.

CROWN LANDS HELICOPTER FIRE TRAIL INSPECTIONS

Crown Lands Harrison conducted aerial fire trail inspections across the Central West and Central Tablelands regions, which included Condobolin and the Lachlan Shire, as part of a statewide inspection program leading into summer recently.
Crown Lands has joined forces with the Rural Fire Service to launch aerial inspections by helicopter, supported by on-the-ground trail maintenance by the Soil Conservation Service, to ensure firefighters have ready access to fight fires and conduct hazard reduction work.
More than 720 fire trails are being inspected by helicopter covering more than 3,600 kilometres of Crown land as well as areas of national park, state forest and other adjoining land.
The aerial inspections will identify areas needing maintenance to ensure the state’s fire trails are in good condition leading into summer.
On the ground crews will follow the inspections to complete needed maintenance including removing excess vegetation, erosion repairs, drainage and soil stability work, and constructing vehicle passing and turning bays for fire trucks.
Crown Lands maintains about 2,500 kilometres of fire trails and 720 hectares of Asset Protection Zones across the state, with helicopters assisting trail inspections in more remote areas.
The NSW Budget recently allocated an additional $10.6 million to maintain and upgrade fire trails on Crown land across the state to ensure firefighters have ready and safe access to fight bushfires and conduct hazard reduction work.
“The Minns Government is committed to restoring essentials services,” Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper stated.
“Fire trails are essential for firefighters to get quick and safe access to fight bushfires and keep our communities, wildlife and properties safe.
“Helicopter inspections are an efficient way to check remote locations, cutting inspection times from months to weeks while providing an overview of the Crown land fire trail network.”
The fire trail network helps protect life and property from bushfires by providing access for firefighting equipment and personnel. Trails can also provide evacuation routes for residents during emergencies by providing a safe and clear path to leave fire prone areas.
Other uses include supporting access for infrastructure maintenance, management of invasive species, study of plant and animal populations, and recreational activities such as bushwalking.
“Fire combat agencies such as the Rural Fire Service rely on properly maintained fire trails to access fires as quickly as possible, and to safely retreat when they become too dangerous,” Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib advised.
“We are facing a potentially dangerous bushfire season, with hot, dry conditions and vegetation growth creating a higher fuel load.”
“We need to ensure our fire trails are properly maintained so our committed firefighting personnel have the best chance possible of containing fires this bushfire season.”

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