Subject: Fires
From: (Russell Woodford)
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 08:17:59 +1100
Our thoughts go out to all those in Canberra, Sydney's north, and the alpine 
areas of NSW and Victoria who are currently suffering under extreme bushfire 
emergencies.  By now many will have heard of the loss of life and destruction 
of nearly 400 homes in Canberra.  We hope all birding-aus folk, in particular, 
in these areas survive without loss to family, friends or property.

Last night a few of us were celebrating Sean Dooley's amazing 2002 success of 
703 Australian species, and unaware of the terrible destruction in Canberra.  
Despite a great evening meeting up with other birding-aus people, news like 
this is very sobering and helps put things in perspective. Apart from the human 
losses, the effect on wildlife will be devastating.  About 65,000 hectares of 
bushland have been lost in Victoria alone.  One can't imagine the impact on 
species already hit hard by habitat loss and drought.  Is bushfire of these 
proportions part of the "normal cycle" of seasons in this part of the country?  
How much extra pressure can some of the threatened woodland species withstand?  
And how can those who care about natural habitats and their critters do 
anything to help?

Tough days ahead, I think.  Again, best wishes to all those enduring this hell.

Russell Woodford

Sacred Heart College Geelong
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