Crucial hazard reduction burns will begin at Mitchell’s Pass today with road closures in place for the remainder of the weekend.
Rural Fire Service (RFS) Blue Mountains District Superintendent Nick Medianik said the 85-hectare burn forms part of the RFS’s mosaic burning program for the management of the eastern escarpment, with burning to begin at about 10am or 11am on Friday.
“We’re looking at 72 hours of total execution time, a bit over 48 hours of active burning,” he said.
“We’ll obviously have a number of fire resources in there, including aerial incendiary and water bucketing as well.”
Superintendent Medianik acknowledged the community would be affected by smoke.
“We’re very mindful of the impact that creates, which is why we try to schedule these when the atmospheric conditions are conducive to the disbursement of that smoke as soon as possible,” he said.
“Those with any respiratory problems should speak to their GP or health professional in relation to how they manage that, and as best as possible, keep their windows and doors closed and air-conditioning on recirculate.”
Old Bathurst Road will be closed throughout the duration of the burn, with hard road closures at Gosling Street, Emu Heights and the junction of Bowaga Avenue and Yoolgali Terrace, East Blaxland.
Mitchell’s Pass will be closed from the Lennox Bridge, however the car parking and visitor area to the Knapsack Bridge will remain open.
“Old Bathurst Road will be closed for those 72 hours and have a significant impact on traffic in and out of the area,” Superintendent Medianik said.
“Although under the current COVID restrictions, there shouldn’t be a lot of people moving… but we ask that people are patient.
“We’re looking at quite a severe fire season in the grassland areas.”
Alena Higgins is the Weekender’s Senior News Reporter, primarily covering courts and Council issues.