A NSW Government website

$10.6 million for fire trail upgrades on Crown Lands

29 Sep 2023

The NSW Government is committed to rebuilding our essential services and today has announced the NSW Budget has allocated an additional $10.6 million to maintain and upgrade fire trails on Crown land.

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.

Helisurveys pilot Calum Harrison with Crown Lands' crew members Robbie Hurst, Jaimee Vlastuin and Jenni Playdon.

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 2,500km of fire trails and 720 hectares of Asset Protection Zones across the state, with helicopters assisting trail inspections in more remote areas.

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.

Aerial view of a fire trail in Sydney basin.

Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said:

“The Minns Government is committed to restoring essentials services.”

“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.”

Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:

“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.”

“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.”