Too Frequent Fire

Bush fire in a heating world is by far the greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide.

Fire, or more specifically ‘too frequent fire’, has long been identified as a “Key threatening process” to most species of native flora and fauna.  Global heating as a consequence of climate change now threatens to wipe out entire ecosystems. 

Changing the culture of too frequent burning is a priority for the Clarence Environment Centre 

Here in Australia, we caught a glimpse of the future in 2019-20 when the entire east coast erupted in flames. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and lives were lost as the eastern states battled the flames and lay blanketed in smoke for over six months. 

No longer can we allow the lighting of fires in bush fire danger seasons, and if fires do start, it is imperative that a rapid response team of highly trained professionals are on the spot within minutes to deal with it. Fires must not be allowed to rage out of control as they did in 2019, and we all have to campaign against the memory loss that occurs when we have 2 or 3 years without serious fires.

“Too frequent fire” is listed as a Key Threatening Process – and for a very good reason – fire kills many species outright. If the country is burned every 3 years, any shrub or tree species that takes more than 3 years to flower and produce seed, will become extinct.

It is common practice, particularly in bush land for Clarence Valley landowners to regularly “burn off” ostensibly to create “green pick” for the low-grade cattle they run in.  Most of that country has also been over-logged, and the continuous burning has destroyed all humus in the soil to the point where these areas can barely grow anything.

In a knee-jerk reaction to property loss from fire, and pressure from those who, for one reason or another, hate National Parks, the government imposed a hazard reduction quota of burning 20% of National Parks every year. Again, this is a recipe for extinction.

The Clarence Environment Centre has studied and recorded the impacts of fire at a local level, and have been lobbying strongly for fire to be taken seriously; even during face to face meetings with our local member, Chris Gulaptis, whose response was, “it would cost too much”!!.

Fires must be excluded from the environment for much longer periods, and forests allowed to mature (stop over-logging) and to allow them to become more resilient, and resistant to fire.

A proper national fire management plan is essential, incorporating:

  • A professional, highly trained, fully resourced and equipped fire-fighting force with rapid response capabilities.
  • The very latest in surveillance technology that can ensure fires are detected within minutes of ignition, with rapid aerial and ground response to ensure fires are extinguished before they get out of control.
  • A ban on all ‘burning off’ by landowners with all necessary hazard reduction undertaken by the professionals.

Clarence Environment Centre’s campaigns on fire…