By Ellen Hill
Visitors to the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region will have a smoke free Easter.
National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) Regional Manager Geoff Luscombe said: “After a great week of successful hazard reduction burning the staff at National Parks are turning their hand to welcoming visitors to their cherished workplace.’’
Smoky conditions could continue for the couple of days at the end of the week, he said.
The smoke was caused by joint NSW NPWS and RFS hazard reduction operations at St Helena south of Springwood, Linden Ridge, Mt Conje south east of Katoomba and Wynns Rocks at Mount Wilson.
While smoky conditions in Springwood yesterday morning had prompted calls from concerned residents, hazard reduction burning was “absolutely essential to reduce fuel loads and bushfire intensity over summer and to keep local communities safe’’.
Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism chairman Randall Walker said: “We are very proud of this magnificent national park and love sharing its beauty and diversity with visitors from around the world. From time to time, NPWS and the RFS must conduct hazard reduction in the national park which may create smoke and affect the thousands of residents and the visitors who flock here from around the world.’’
“We are blessed with such rich diversity in this region that it is easy to find an activity outdoors or indoors. For example, the Easter break would be an ideal time to visit the new Blue Mountains Cultural Centre at Katoomba, browse the many galleries and eclectic shops or savour the wonderful array of food and beverages on offer in a cafe.’’
Mr Luscombe, who is also a BMLOT board member, said: “The Blue Mountains is one of the most fire prone areas of NSW and most people in the community expect these programs to be done. Another benefit for locals and visitors was that the bushland would look even more spectacular next year when wildflowers are in full bloom.’’
For more information about hazard reduction burning visit http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au.