A million hectares destroyed as kimberley bushfire continues to spread

A million hectares destroyed as kimberley bushfire continues to spread

12 October 2016

published by http://www.abc.net.au

Australia —  “We’re in no immediate danger, but we’re just worried about saving pasture for the animals.”

Ms Lacy said there were still some tourists in the region travelling along the Gibb River Road.

“A few tourists came through in the last couple of days and they’re staggered at the blackness of the country,” she said.

“Driving from the Kununurra end, once you hit Ellenbrae it’s just black for hundreds of kilometres.”

The fire is heading towards Marion Downs, which is managed by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).

AWC’s national operations manager Tim Allard said the organisation had a team on the ground trying to stop the fire from spreading, but hot and windy conditions were challenging.

“It’s a significant fire and a significant chunk of land has been burnt in one event,” he said.

“The total fire front is a couple of hundred kilometres long, and there’s fairly strong winds out here.”

Mr Allard said the fire had caused significant environmental damage.

“It’s decimated the habitat for so many animals, you think of the gouldian finch, who now has to fly so far to try and find food,” he said.

“The other issue is it destroys all of the refuge for native animals to hide from feral cats.

“We’ve done a research project on Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, that shows feral cats travel up to 15 kilometres to get to the edge of a fire scar and hunt on those native prey.”

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) says pastoralists, Indigenous groups, Kimberley Land Council Rangers, Australian Wildlife Conservancy and DFES are actively fighting the fire at its south and monitoring it to the north.

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