Farmers angry that scrapping yarra river grazing licences will increase bush fire risk

Farmers angry that scrapping yarra river grazing licences will increase bush fire risk

23 October 2016

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Australia —  ANGRY Yarra Valley farmers say a State Government move to scrap grazing licences along the Yarra River will increase bushfire risks.

The Yarra Waterways Group is against a move to revegetate cleared land along the river
in the Upper Yarra Valley in a bid to expand Yellingbo Conservation Area.

Previously, farmers had been granted grazing licences to use the land but these are being
phased out. Towns affected include Launching Place, Yarra Junction, Wesburn, Millgrove, Gladysdale and Three Bridges.

Yarra Ranges Council wrote to State Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio on September 19 to call for the continuation of grazing licences.

The council’s concerns included the “unreasonably” short time frames and inadequate funding for those having their grazing licences revoked.

The heightened fire risk to communities was also an issue for the council with concerns about the unmanaged vegetation and increased fuel load in one of highest bushfire risk areas in the state.

Council chief executive Glenn Patterson said the State Government needed to consider grazing areas as a way to manage and reduce bushfire risk.

“The rehabilitation of the crown land has the potential to increase bushfire risk with increased fuel loads,” Mr Patterson said.

Yarra Waterways Group member Jenny Barber said the area was one of the most fire-prone in the world.

“We’ve had the use of crown land for hundreds of years,” Ms Barber said. “Some of these areas come right up to houses.”

Ms Barber said she owned a hobby farm with a few head of cattle but other farmers and market gardeners in the area relied on the land for their livelihood.

“There’s only one road in and out — the Warburton Highway — if they revegetate all the waterways, the CFA will have trouble coming to collect water,” Ms Barber said.

Department spokeswoman Sally Bateman said the bushfire risk had been noted.

“To address this, an independent consultant will work with relevant agencies including the CFA … and the local community to draft bushfire management recommendations,” she said.

Ms Bateman said the department and Parks Victoria would continue fuel management activities in and around Yellingbo.

Winters have started approaching the northern region of India that also includes Delhi-NCR along with Punjab and Haryana. Due to this, minimums have also started dropping in many parts of North India including Delhi and NCR. In fact, as per the temperatures recorded on October 15 and October 17, the minimums ofDelhi and NCR went down to 17°C.

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As per experts, an increase in the pollution level normally occurs during the winter months. However, there are a few reasons that could enhance the pollution level in Delhi and the adjoining areas. The very first reason that can be attributed to an increase in pollution level in the national capital is crop fires in the neighboring state ofHaryana andPunjab.

These two states lie in northwest proximity of Delhi and normal pattern of winds during this season is northwesterly. These winds drag the smoke and fine particles of the burnt crop and mix them with Delhi’s atmosphere. Moreover, the temperatures also start dipping, therefore, the air near the earth’s surface tends to condense leading to formation of haze.

Whenever the winds are light or calm, these air pollutants get mixed with the haze or mist and forms a blanket of smoke haze which remains suspended for few hours in the mornings. Thereafter, the haze disappears as the sun rises and temperatures increases during the day.


But as the winter progresses in the month of December and January, the duration of haze, mist or fog gets extended and these pollutants remain suspended in the atmosphere for longer duration of time. Other factors including the smoke emitting from vehicles and factories and dust from construction sites also add to the rising pollution levels.

Sometimes this situation can continue for day’s altogether. However, relief is expected only when a strong Western Disturbance gives rain over the region. It is then that these pollutants settle down for a few days.

Another criterion which reduces the pollution levels is the strong and moderate dry winds from northwest or west which carry away these pollution particles. In a nutshell, it can be said that in October, intensity and duration of pollution remain less though increases in November as winters sets in.

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