Given the fires that have been prematurely sweeping across NSW of late, NSW Rural Fire Services (RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is pushing the NSW government to create a public-facing web-map that can show residents just how much time has elapsed between hazard reduction burns in their local area.
Currently, there is no searchable database of back-burning and hazard reduction burning in NSW, and Mr Fitzsimmons is arguing that the recent chaos seen in the Blue Mountains shows that change is needed.
“People want transparency,”’ he said. “Having a system where I could provide greater visibility is a priority. Everyone should be able to go into where they live, see what has been done in that area in the past 10 or 15 years and what is scheduled.”
Mr Fitzimmons said a more transparent system like this could help give the community peace of mind.
He added that the trouble with hazard reduction burning was not environmental groups, as some have claimed, but that firefighters and land managers have to wait until enough bushland had regrown from the previous burn, so that burns will be ‘low-intensity.’
“The principal reason hazard reduction doesn’t get done as much as we’d like is fundamentally weather,” he said.