What we do
Forestry Tasmania conducts planned burns to:
- improve the safety of the community by reducing fuel loads in production forests and other identified high priority areas; and
- to regenerate harvested forests in a similar manner to natural regeneration following bushfire.
Forestry Tasmania plans and conducts its burns based on evaluation of weather and site conditions to optimise smoke dispersion away from population centres.
In addition, burns only occur if they are consistent with the Coordinated Smoke Management System in place across Tasmania. This program, which was developed with the Environmental Protection Authority and is run by the Forest Practices Authority, sets a maximum amount of smoke that can be released each day into 11 defined Tasmanian ‘airsheds’.
Around 150 regeneration burns ranging in size from a couple of hectares up to approximately 100 hectares were planned in 2015 in coupes across the Permanent Timber Production Zone. In addition, Forestry Tasmania is involved with fuel reduction burns across the state as part of the coordinated fuel reduction program.
Where we do it
You can see the locations of the planned fuel reduction and regeneration burns by using our
Interactive Map Viewer. When you open the map viewer, zoom into your area of interest and tick the ‘Planned Burns’ layer to highlight the coupes that may be burned this year (subject to weather and on ground conditions).
Why we do it
To regenerate harvested forests by sowing seed onto recently burnt seedbed in a similar manner to natural regeneration following bushfire. See our regeneration burns factsheet.
To improve the safety of the community by reducing fuel loads in production forests and other identified high priority areas. See our bushfire management fact sheet.
When we do it
Regeneration burning is undertaken in Autumn – starting in March and extending to May in some areas. Autumn is the best time to undertake this burning because: it’s the safest time of the year to burn; the fuels are dry which creates less smoke than damp fuels; the extreme conditions of summer have passed reducing the chance of the fire escaping boundaries; it is an ideal time for germination of eucalypt seedlings given warm temperatures and the onset of regular rainfall; and winter rains and cooler conditions are on the way which helps extinguish the heavier fuels that remain alight. Due to the favourable conditions, fuels that may pose a bushfire threat can be safely removed.
Autumn also provides the best time for reducing the smoke and fire impact on threatened species such as Wedge Tail Eagles which nest in the spring time.
How we do it
Our aim is to minimise impact on neighbours and local communities whilst delivering a sufficient burn outcome. This is done by consideration of weather and vegetation conditions (including burning conditions and likely smoke dispersal), proximity and concerns of neighbours, and avoidance of known events.
Every burn is carefully planned for safety, smoke dispersal, protection of assets, infrastructure, special values, and threatened and endangered species. These factors are documented in a burn plan that is reviewed, audited and approved along with a risk assessment.
We burn only when weather conditions are suitable to managing and containing the fire to within the boundaries we have prepared and allow for favourable smoke dispersal as specified in the plan.
On poor smoke dispersal days, burning is voluntarily cancelled until suitable conditions prevail.
Our burns are also coordinated with other agencies and forestry businesses to control smoke levels within the Environment Protection Authority’s standards for each airshed.
On site preparation is undertaken where needed. For example, fire breaks may be established to create a fuel free buffer on a dry boundary or near a special value or asset, and tracks are constructed to provide access for any suppression activities that may be required.
How we let people know
- Notification of and engagement with immediate neighbours and other directly affected stakeholders at the planning stage.
- Publication of the planned burn program on the 'What's Burning Now' map
- Through agreed protocols with tourism and wine industries
- Public notices in major Tasmanian and local papers prior to the start of the program
- Notification of immediate neighbours, and other stakeholders who have registered with us, of our intention to burn on the planned day.
If you have questions or would like daily notifications of planned burns in your region please contact: Dion McKenzie (Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator) telephone (03) 6235 8151 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twice daily media and facebook advice during the burning season
Locations of Forestry Tasmania’s current planned burns are updated daily and displayed on the 'What's Burning Now' map maintained by the Tasmanian Fire Service.
Advice from Asthma Tasmania
The Asthma Foundation of Tasmania advises all people with asthma or other respiratory illnesses in smoke affected areas to ensure they take the necessary precautions to protect themselves against elevated levels of high intensity smoke.
If you can smell smoke, it could be a risk to your health and you need to ensure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself against it.
Exposure to wood smoke can trigger asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath.
Children, the elderly and people with heart conditions and/or breathing problems, including asthma, are the first to feel the effects of smoke and particle pollution, which means they need to take extra care.
If you are affected by smoke, where possible:
- Stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed
- Minimise physical outdoor activity
- If using an air conditioner or heat pump at home or in the car, set it to ‘recycle’
- Try to minimise exposure to other irritants such as cigarette smoke and dust
- Asthma sufferers should make sure their blue/grey reliever medication is at hand.
All smoke complaints are investigated by the Environmental Protection Authority, a Division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
If you wish to lodge a complaint about smoke, call 1800 005 171 or contact the Environment Protection Authority at Air, Smoke and Odour Complaints. Your input will help to improve smoke management.