the fire hazard reduction program

To: <>, "Frank O'Connor" <>
Subject: the fire hazard reduction program
From: "Ross Macfarlane" <>
Date: Fri, 6 Sep 2013 07:57:32 +1000
Frank, I can’t speak for what happens in the southwest but the publically 
available fire operations plans published by DEPI in Victoria do try to give 
consideration to the principle of creating breaks and mosaics and protecting 
high-value areas. See for example:

From: Frank O'Connor 
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2013 7:38 PM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] the fire hazard reduction program

Ross McFarlane points out the common claim :

There is a need for some prescribed burning, for ecological reasons as well as 
for public safety. They create a mosaic of vegetation classes that different 
species need - e.g. malleefowl feed on wattle seeds etc. in disturbed habitat, 
and the Triodia that Mallee emu-wrens live in senesces in long unburned 
habitat. And the firebreaks can protect some long-unburned "lifeboat" patches 
from landscape scale bushfires.

The concept of mosiac or patchwork burns sounds nice.  But in practice they 
blanket burn large areas of the south west and particularly the Kimberley, the 
latter year after year.  Sure, some patches somehow survive, but in my 
experience I can't believe that these patches are enough for the dependent 
species to survive.  Even if they do hang on, their numbers are greatly reduced.

I have no problems with firebreaks as a means of stopping fires, and especially 
to give access to fight fires, but apart from bulldozing / mowing them, I see 
no concept of creating a firebreak in the prescribed burning.  When they have 
done a prescribed burn to protect habitat of threatened / endangered species, 
at least two I know of have got out of control and burnt the area meant to be 

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694              Email :  


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