Fire trails around the central west are being checked by helicopter to identify which need to be cleared for firefighting passage, following recent heavy rains rendering some inaccessible.
Crown Lands and the NSW RFS are conducting inspections of the fire trails from the air, so they can clear the routes for firefighters to get to fires if required - part of ongoing works to keep the trails clear.
Ten fire trails have been inspected in the Dubbo local government area (LGA), covering about 62 kilometres of trails. Also, 27 kilometres of fire trails were inspected in the Bogan Shire LGA.
Kurt Hippensteel, operations officer - fire trails, Western Area for the RFS, said trails around the Burrendong area had been cleared prior to rain damage during the past 12 months and they would likely have to be cleared again.
"At the moment [we're] assessing what damage has been done since all the rain because a lot of this area was pretty much inaccessible, a large portion of that time," Mr Hippensteel told the Daily Liberal.
He said works were being undertaken neat Mount Canobolas near Orange and would shortly begin around Dubbo.
"At the moment we're assessing some of the fire breaks that have already been put in, and just basically looking at running some machinery through those just to clear them again - just to keep them open," he said.
The RFS will utilise graders to clear already established fire breaks.
The aerial checks are part of a statewide inspection program leading into summer.
According to Crown Lands, helicopter inspections are more efficient than ground checks, particularly in remote areas or where fire trails cross multiple land tenures, reducing inspection times from months to weeks.
IN OTHER NEWS
Fire combat agencies including the RFS, Fire & Rescue NSW, National Parks and Wildlife Service, and Forestry Corporation all rely on maintained fire trails.
Follow-up trail work can include clearing vegetation and fallen trees, maintaining or creating passing and turning bays for firefighting vehicles, and earthworks to manage water drainage, soil stability and erosion.
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