Council, RFS to discuss strategy for clearing road reserves in aftermath of Llandilo, Londonderry fires

Council and firefighters will discuss a new area-wide fire strategy relating to the clearing of road reserves in the wake of last year’s wild blazes at Llandilo and Londonderry.

Flashback: The aftermath of the November fire that swept through Llandilo.

Flashback: The aftermath of the November fire that swept through Llandilo.

A report to last month’s council meeting highlighted  the possibility of clearing road reserves in the two areas, in particular around The Northern Road and Llandilo Road, for bushfire protection purposes. 

“Council is responsible for the management of many kilometres of roadside vegetation across the city. Currently these areas are slashed twice per year where physically possible and in response to customer requests, with rural intersections mown 14 times per year,” the May 22 report stated.

“The possibility of clearing road reserves across the city as a bushfire mitigation strategy, including Londonderry and Llandilo, has been referred to the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) for advice.

“The RFS have provided a broad response and suggested that a strategy for the management of road reserves to assist in bushfire mitigation be developed in consultation with council staff. This strategy should be applied to specific roads or road networks. Any strategy should consider the cost effectiveness of implementation.”

The report recommended council undertake further discussions with the RFS to develop a strategy for the entire local government area, including Londonderry and Llandilo. 

Several blazes tore through the area late last year, including one on November 4 that significantly damaged several properties and a second on November 14 that threatened 55 properties and burned out around 400 hectares

But Cr Kevin Crameri – a member of Llandilo Rural Fire Brigade – warned it wasn’t just road reserves that needed attention when deciding on fire policy.

“What I am worried about is the crown of the trees,” he told the council meeting. “In some places you have got crowns of the trees two metres apart. What I am asking is that the crowns be managed.

“We have to stop [fires] jumping and … having complete and utter chaos. It’s that dangerous to the residents of Penrith when we have uncontrolled fires with westerly winds behind us.

“I think this is one of the most important things that [councillors] will vote on in this council. This is people’s lives, this is people’s property.

“All we want to do is take the crowns out of these trees so we have a gap … that will make it safer for firefighters and residents.”