Fire Management

Bushland Fire Management

Fire management and fuel reduction can play a crucial role in the protection of life, property and community assets. Carefully considered fire management also assists in the maintenance and enhancement of biodiversity outcomes. To fulfill legislative obligations it is crucial for council to prepare and manage their bushland areas to mitigate risks and aid in ecosystem health and habitat management.

Undertaking hazard reduction burns is a key proactive management tool used to achieve such outcomes. Council’s bushland management team work in conjunction with Fire and Rescue NSW in order to achieve this. Planned management activities are undertaken in a careful way to maintain the health of these areas and reduce the impact of bushfires. Activities include:

  • Hazard reduction burns on designated sites to lower fuel loads, reduce fire intensity and maintain ecosystem health.
  • Removal and modification of vegetation through mechanical means, such as slashing, manual removal, tree pruning and other methods.

Why undertake hazard reduction burns?

A hazard reduction burn is used to:

  • Reduce the amount of fire fuel in an area by burning off undergrowth under controlled conditions.
  • Mitigate the risk of fire leaving or entering council-owned land (a legal responsibility as a land manager under the Rural Fires Act 1997).
  • Assist in stimulating and promoting plants to regenerate and maintain healthy environmental conditions for the retention of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Hazard Reduction Burn

Burn program for 2021

The 2021 scheduled program of hazard reduction burns will concentrate on two seperate sites within Randwick Environment Park (Randwick).

Site

Location

Burn area

Status

1

Randwick Environment Park
(adjacent to Burragulung Street, Randwick)

0.5ha

Scheduled for mid October (dependent  
on suitable weather conditions)

2

Randwick Environment Park
(below Argyle Crescent, Randwick)

0.5ha

Scheduled for mid October (dependent
on suitable weather conditions)

Preparing for hazard reduction burns

All attempts will be made to limit any smoke, dust, stray ember and other hazards as works are undertaken. Unfortunately, ideal weather conditions for conducting these hazard reduction burns can also mean that smoke is not always dispersed well. With this in mind, there are a number of steps you can take to prepare yourself and your property to reduce impacts:

  • Keep doors and windows closed to prevent smoke entering your home.
  • Remove washing from clothes lines.
  • Limit outdoor activities if smoke is a nuisance.
  • If you suffer respiratory or other health conditions, keep medication close by, seek medical advice and reduce outdoor activities if smoke is present.

Residents adjoining prescribed burn sites should also:

  • Ensure pets have a safe area to shelter.
  • Place outdoor furniture undercover.
  • Retract pool covers.
  • Clear roofs, gutters and yards of flammable material such as leaves.

How does council minimise impacts on local wildlife?

The direct effects of fire on wildlife are closely related to mobility. Birds can escape fire relatively easily, while ground dwelling animals avoid fires by leaving the area or by taking shelter under rocks, in waterways or hollow logs. The pre-burn site preparation, relatively low intensity and inherent patchiness of prescribed burns provides wildlife with opportunities to escape into unburnt areas or take shelter.

The effects of fire on fauna are not necessarily negative. Fire can impact animals indirectly through effects on vegetation and other habitat features. Nesting hollows can be created by fire and reshooting vegetation can provide a food source for certain species. Increased levels of flowering and seeding follow fire as well as denser and more diverse vegetation as rejuvenated plant species compete for light and released nutrients. In locations not burned for long periods, aging vegetation may lose its productivity and some animal species may move elsewhere while plants which depend on fire to set seed may perish.

Council minimises impacts on wildlife during a hazard reduction burn in various ways:

  • Leaving areas of bushland untouched for wildlife to use as a refuge and to help re-establish vegetation in burnt sections (patchiness).
  • Excluding sensitive wildlife habitat from prescribed burns.
  • Inspecting sites prior to hazard reduction burns for wildlife and clearing around large fallen timber, hollow bearing trees and important habitat features.

For information regarding council’s hazard reduction burn program email council@randwick.nsw.gov.au or call 1300 722 542. Alternatively Bushfire Hazard Complaints may be lodged with the NSW Rural Fire Service via their website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

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