Fuel reduction burns ‘don’t work’

Fuel reduction burns ‘don’t work’

20 December 2007

published by kangarooisland.yourguide.com.au 

Australia — Fuel reduction burning doesn’t work and the fires of the past two weeks had burnt over the scars of bushfires of the past 20 years in the Flinders Chase, according to Conservation Council of SA member Fraser Vickery.

As the debate continues about whether there should be more prescribed burning of strategic areas of native fegetation, Mr Vickery, Of Emu Bay acknowledges that emotions are running high.

“There are historic issues of clearance and vegetation management at play here that date back to the 1980s,” he said.

“But there’s been a lot of movement forward since then. There is room for burning as a management tool. There is a process to go through to do that and it’s the same for the DEH as for farmers and anyone else who wants to burn native vegetation.”

Mr Vickery said there were other issues to do with prescribed burning that needed careful consideration and planning as well as resourcing.

“When you burn the native vegetation you take away the cover for native animals and open it up for feral animals. Weed control is also an issue in burnt areas,” he said.

Environment and Conservation Minister Gail Gago visited the island on Monday and saw the devastation in Flinders Chase first-hand.

She said there had been a lot of misinformation about prescribed burning.

“Clearly preventative burning is part of the strategy of managing parks. We had eight burns planned for this past winter and spring but the dry conditions and weather meant we only achieved one of those,” Ms Gago said.

That prescribed burn of 10 hectares in early September became a 1000-hectare fire when it got out of control.

“I have seen the benefits of that burn in protecting infrastructure at Flinders Chase,” Ms Gago said.

She praised the efforts of fire fighters in saving important infrastructure, such as the Flinders Chase Café.

“We will evaluate what has happened in the KI bushfires, as we do with every fire incident,” she said.

Kangaroo Island CFS group officer Terry May told a bushfire recovery meeting yesterday that fire breaks of about 2km wide would have been needed to stop the Flinders Chase fire last Thursday.

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