The Department of Planning and Environment – Crown Lands (Crown Lands) has worked in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service and Soil Conservation Service to conduct helicopter aerial inspections of fire trails on Crown land.
The aerial inspections have been occurring across the state in preparation for the summer bushfire season. The aerial inspections are also supported by on-the-ground trail maintenance.
This year more than 1,400 km of fire trails were inspected by helicopters to ensure they are in good condition for firefighters.
After fire trails are inspected, any identified maintenance is undertaken to ensure firefighting crews and their vehicles can quickly access blazes if they break out, to protect property, infrastructure and residents.
Aerial inspections are also more efficient than four-wheel-drive inspections in remote and less accessible areas, or where fire trails cross multiple land boundaries, cutting inspection times from months to weeks.
The aerial inspections identify fallen trees requiring removal; erosion or vegetation growth that has impacted trails; and creek crossings require repair. The helicopter is also fitted with a camera to help record where follow-up work is needed.
On the ground crews then remove vegetation; conduct erosion repairs; undertake drainage and soil stability work; construct vehicle passing and turning bays; position trail signage; and install gates and bollards, to protect fire trails from illegal access and dumping.
The Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Forestry Corporation, all rely on properly maintained fire trails.
Crown Lands also works with other agencies to conduct hazard reduction burns, and clear Asset Protection Zones (APZs) to ensure adequate fire breaks between homes and other buildings in residential areas.
Crown Lands and the Rural Fire Service have conducted helicopter inspections around the Sydney Metro area, in LGAs including:
- Mid-Western Regional
- Murray River
- Nambucca Valley
- Port Macquarie-Hastings
- Port Stephens
- Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional
- Richmond Valley
- Snowy Monaro Regional
- Snowy Valleys
- Tamworth Regional
- Upper Hunter
- Upper Lachlan Shire
- Wagga Wagga
- Yass Valley.
If landowners have concerns about potential bushfire hazards on adjoining land, they should contact the Rural Fire Service.
To read more about Crown Lands’ fire trail program, view read the departmental media release: Aerial fire trail inspections take off