Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2018 04:12:29 +0930
From: Denise Goodfellow <>
To: birding-aus <>
Subject: wildfires in the Top End Dry Season
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This is a warning for any birders thinking of travelling to the Top End.
According to the ABC (4 July) fireworks started 679 wildfires on Territory
Day, July 1st. One of those fires in the rural area killed many pet
animals including black cockatoos and a crocodile, destroyed a home, and
threatened lives. These fires were fuelled by gamba grass and exacerbated
by higher than usual maximum temperatures, strong winds, and low humidity.
The Chief Minister, Michael Gunner, says there are no plans to move
Territory Day from the Dry Season. Yet, this year wildfires serious enough
to reach into forest canopy 20 m. high occurred as early as the late Wet
Season. By July the Top End was a tinder box. Given increasing maximum
temperatures and the continuing spread of gamba grass I consider his
decision to be irresponsible. At the very least it demonstrates little
care for those at risk, and that includes birders.
Many good birding spots are now infested with gamba grass. Please stay
away from them throughout the Dry Season. Gamba-fuelled fires can reach
tens of metres in height, and they are very hot. They also move very
fast, particularly in areas where there are few trees. The pet animals
that died may well have been killed by radiant heat (the owner had cleared
a large area around his aviary). Also, you may pick up some of the very
fine gamba grass seed in your clothes or on your vehicle. Rangers and
landholders have already identified this as a source of spread.
Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow Ph.D., B.A., Grad. Dip.
PO Box 71
Darwin River, NT, Australia 0841
043 8650 835
I am disturbed to read that someone has Black Cockatoos as pets.
Is this legal?
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