Australia — The Grampians National Park is continuing to recover from the 2006 fires thanks to a massive effort to replace damaged infrastructure along with fuel reduction burns to reduce the threat of a repeat of the devastating event.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin Jennings toured areas of the national park that have been rebuilt and rejuvenated since the fires burned 130,000 hectares of the Grampians.
“The local community, businesses and volunteers have worked with the Brumby Government to rebuilt infrastructure in the Grampians, including re-opening the Sundial carpark and walking track precinct, along with the Silverband Road,” Mr Jennings said.
Mr Jennings said the Brumby Government is committed to reducing the risk of future bushfires by conducting fuel reduction burns over 300 hectares of the Grampians this autumn.
“These fuel reduction burns aim to reduce the intensity of future bushfires which are a threat to the people that live, work and play in the Grampians National Park as well as being a threat to the biodiversity of the park itself,” Mr Jennings said.
“Victoria’s firefighters are putting every effort into fuel reduction burns while conditions are most suitable, including giving up their weekends to conduct these burns.”
To date, more than 70,000 hectares of public land in Victoria has been subject to planned burns for ecological and fuel reduction purposes.
“The community has so far been very tolerant while these burns are carried out, but there is still extensive burning to be carried out across Victoria,” Mr Jennings said.
The work to restore and replace damaged infrastructure in the Grampians is continuing.
Works currently being carried out include a project at the Major Mitchell Plateau, one of the most remote locations in the Grampians, where helicopters are needed to transport materials and personnel to remove burnt material, build a new toilet and replace 430 metres of boardwalks on the Plateau walking track.
The Brumby Government has committed $1.5 million to upgrade Jimmy Creek, Plantation, Boreang, Buandik, Smiths Mill and Stapylton Campgrounds and other associated infrastructure,
“Renowned for its mountain ranges, a rich cultural heritage and spectacular wildflower displays, the 168,000 hectare park is a much-loved location that is idea for a wide range of outdoor activities,” Mr Jennings said.