The difference between proactive, controlled burns and uncontrolled bushfires is stark. It’s often the difference between life and death for native species.
Controlled burns are carried out in cooler conditions, often after recent rainfall, to create slow-moving, low-severity fires in carefully selected areas with appropriate vegetation communities.
On our reserves we work closely with our ecologists and the latest research to recreate a mosaic pattern of fire histories, which supports biodiversity and fire-sensitive plant and animal species. These controlled burns in cool conditions can reduce fuel build-up and help control weeds.
Bushfires often start in hot, dry, windy weather and can quickly reach into tree canopies, destroying nesting hollows and food sources, killing small mammals and devastating ecosystems.
We also create strategic fire breaks that help control prescribed burns and can restrict the spread and movement of large bushfires.
The impact of bushfires can be confronting. Millions of animals perish, and the ones that survive are left without crucial cover and susceptible to predators – especially cats.
Fire management is collaborative
Bushfires have no respect for property borders and can burn out cattle stations and agricultural land, impacting pastoral livelihoods as well.
We work together with neighbours and local stakeholders to ensure that together we’re protecting the landscape. With approval from the local fire authorities, we conduct controlled burns on reserves with strict supervision by reserve managers, and the support and on-ground assistance (where required) of relevant park or fire agencies.
How the land responds
When burning is skilfully carried out it can reinvigorate ageing vegetation communities, encourage flowering and seeding and provide a flush of new green shoots and nutritious small herbs for grazing wildlife.
By strategically burning small areas we build complexity into the vegetation over successive seasons. After some years this creates patches of bush at different stages of regeneration that can provide the resources animals need, no matter what the season.