The Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure – Crown Lands is working in collaboration with the Rural Fire Service to conduct helicopter aerial inspections of fire trails on Crown land.
The aerial inspections are underway across the state in preparation for the summer bushfire season. The aerial inspections are also supported by on-the-ground trail maintenance by the Soil Conservation Service.
This year, more than 720 fire trails will be inspected by helicopter covering more than 3,600 km of Crown land, as well as areas of national park, state forest and other adjoining land, 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.
The crews also 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.
If landowners have concerns about potential bushfire hazards on adjoining land, they should contact the Rural Fire Service.