Forest Fire Management Victoria staff are now undertaking works to reduce bushfire risk to local communities.
Last week firefighters conducted ‘‘candling’’ in Mt Robertson State Forest, near Pheasant Creek, to reduce the amount of surface bark in the forest.
Murrindindi senior community partnership support officer Tom Goldstraw said bark was one of the main contributors to spotting during a bushfire.
‘‘By reducing the bark hazard we can increase the chance of controlling bushfires and minimising their spread and impact on the community,’’ Mr Goldstraw said.
‘‘Candling is carried out with the use of a vehicle-mounted drip torch which sprays a flammable gel onto the trunk of the tree.’’
Mr Goldstraw said the vehicle-mounted drip torch was a unique piece of equipment developed by Forest Fire Management Victoria specialist staff.
‘‘Stringybark trees such as messmate, brown and red stringybark are particularly receptive to candling and the fuel reduction effect can last for 10years or more, so it’s a very effective and valuable fuel treatment.’’
He said before any candling was conducted trees were checked and marked to avoid putting fire into hollow-bearing trees that were valuable for native animal habitat.
Mr Goldstraw said during winter, Forest Fire Management Victoria staff planned to conduct candling in forests near Kinglake, Strath Creek, Tallarook and Narbethong.