Torbay Catchment Group is one of 37 organisations supporting the Denmark Fire Study Group in its call for a review of prescribed burning across the south west. To be clear, we do not want to see burning stop, but we would like the burn parameters reviewed. Below is an article written by Bart Lebbing of the Denmark Fire Study Group.
Burning questions on alarming fauna and flora extinction rate
Biodiversity of flora and fauna is on a declining trajectory according to the review by Professor Graeme Samuel AC into the Environmental Protection, Biodiversity and Conservation Act (EPBC). The Denmark Fire Study Group (DFSG) has been looking into some of the causes of this decline in our region.
One of the concerns is the large area, far from human habitation, that is prescribed burnt on a 6-10 year rotation.
Members of the DFSG have been regularly monitoring land in the Mt. Lindesay and Mt.Roe National Parks, which is under the prescribed burning (PB) regime. The way individual burns are conducted, produces high temperatures and leaves few options for fauna to escape the fire. Flora is severely impacted with almost a complete canopy loss.
The current practice is of major concern within the scientific community and we wanted to gauge what the level of concern is in the WA community. A statement of concern to government was compiled along with requests for more scientific research. This statement has been distributed among many associations WA wide: flora and fauna interest groups, landcare bodies and industry associations.
The statement has been endorsed by 37 of these organisations and by the time you read this, it will have been delivered to the Premier, Ministers, Members of Parliament and Directors of relevant departments.
Some of the requests in this statement are:
• Support research and implementation of early detection and rapid suppression of bushfires before they develop into wildfires.
• Increase support for research and monitoring of the ecological impacts of prescribed burning and wildfires.
• Support and increase of research into the effectiveness of current prescribed burning to protect human lives and property.
We believe the current area (350,000km2 2018-2019 WA season) under the PB regime has a major impact on our high extinction rate of flora and fauna. It needs to be reviewed to find more effective ways to mitigate wildfires.
DFSG is working on a monitoring program of land in the Warren District to study the effect of PB on the land, flora and fauna.