Why controlled burns are said to reduce wildfires

Smoke could be seen kilometres away after a fire in Burrum Heads burned out of control.
Smoke could be seen kilometres away after a fire in Burrum Heads burned out of control. Kelly Blenheim

IN THE past few weeks, controlled burns have been conducted across the Fraser Coast in a bid to prevent wildfires.

But what is it about lighting fires which ironically controls fires?

Professor of Forestry Operations at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Mark Brown, said controlled burns are important in controlling the amount of fuel available to support a fire.

"By doing a controlled burn you're able to remove what's often referred to as either fine fuels or ladder fuels,” professor Brown said.

"The theory is things which impact a fire condition is the amount of fuel available, moisture content of the fuel, recent weather patterns, the temperature and weather conditions on the day,” he said.

"The only thing we can realistically control is how much fuel is on site because we can't control weather or temperature.”

Topics:  bushfires controlled burns ehp fraser coast

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