Many of us will have watched with great sadness the fires on the west face of the Dandenongs tonight, Tues 9th April 2013. We know that these so fuel reduction burns managed by DSE’s Melbourne Bushfire Protection Program will do nothing to increase community safety in the event of a large bushfire.
Article from Free Press Leader April 2013
"PARKS Victoria will continue creating fuel breaks in the hills, despite the grave concerns of some environmental groups.
Last week the authority announced the start of works on 45 kilometres of new fuel breaks through Melbourne’s interface parklands, in the Dandenongs, around Warrandyte and along the Mornington Peninsula.
Parks Victoria chief executive Dr Bill Jackson said work had been continuing over summer to significantly improve the existing 550 kilometres of fuel breaks throughout greater Melbourne parks, and work would now start on new fuel breaks.
The works will involve tractors and hand tools to clear small trees, shrubs and some limbs from the existing fuel breaks, and in some cases works would include the removal of some larger trees to improve fire protection and also the access for firefighting vehicles.
Last week, Leader reported hills environment groups were horrified at the amount of vegetation removed in January by Parks Victoria in fuel break works along Nation Rd in Selby.
The Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group and Friends of Minak Reserve wrote to Parks to express their concerns about the works, which they described as compete habitat destruction.
But Dr Jackson said Parks Victoria had commissioned detailed cultural and environmental assessments “to ensure minimal impact on the very features that make our parks one of Victoria’s great attractions”.
Fuel break works are set to start soon in Basin-Olinda Rd Olinda, Claremont Ave The Basin and Black Hill Reserve Selby.
Notice of Works flyers are currently being distributed to nearby residents.
Find out more at www.parkweb.vic.gov.au."
Here are the DSE Fire Operations Plan maps of the proposed burn areas for 2012/13 (Dark
Purple). 2013/14 (Purple) and 2014/15 (Light Purple)
Those of us who have been involved in discussions about the size and extent of the fuel breaks have been very concerned about the lack of community consultation, in particular about tree removal in preparation for the burns, trees which take years to grow and mature providing homes for wildlife, shelter for other plants and animals, erosion control, carbon sequestration, oxygen production, climate control, water harvesting, national and local identity and just sheer matchless beauty. We fear that instead of improving community fire safety, these burns will increase the risk of fire in the Hills by drying out the burnt areas and may even instil a sense of complacency in some residents believe that ‘the authorities’ have made their community safer. See the attached Weekly Times article.