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When red meets green
In a promising new partnership CFA and Trust for Nature have succeeded in a program of burning large tracts of native grasslands across several areas in North West Victoria.
Trust for Nature is a not for profit organisation that works with landowners to protect the native plants and wildlife on private land in Victoria. The Trust also owns 44 conservation properties, including grassland properties on the Avoca Plains where these burns were carried out.
To date, a total of 240 ha have been burnt, with a further 100 ha expected to be completed by the end of autumn as part of an ongoing program.
Terry Ouroumis of CFA’s Vegetation Management department said the burns are an excellent example of multiple objective burning – with large areas of high conservation native grasslands being burnt for threatened species management.
“It also significantly reduces the risk of large fast running fires in the landscape by taking away biomass and slowing down rate of fuel accumulation.”
Dr Nathan Wong, Trust for Nature’s Grassy Ecosystems Coordinator said they were very pleased with the success of the burns and the CFAs practical and enthusiastic approach.
“Autumn is the best time for these burns as they control any weeds that may be coming up from the first rains of the season and opens up the inter-tussock spaces allowing native wildflowers to flourish in spring when the temperature rises.”
Areas already treated as part of a broader Fire Ecology Management Plan for the region include:
• 100 ha of the Glasson’s Grasslands, 29 kms west of Echuca
• 140 ha of the Kinypanial Grasslands, 33 kms North west of Wedderburn
• A final area of around 100 ha scheduled for completion near Korrak Korrak (Wanderer’s Plains grasslands), 25 kms West of Kerang.
The grassland areas chosen for the burns had not had fire for a number of years, and therefore also offered an excellent opportunity for brigade members to gain valuable training and practical experience in a controlled burning environment. CFA Wildfire Instructors were on scene during the burns to mentor and develop member skills as they fine-tuned burn lighting patterns, and enhanced their practical skills.
One of the CFA members who participated in the burns Jeroen Van Veen of Wedderburn brigade said it was a great group activity.
“I can see an emerging new role for the CFA in these type of eco-burns because it adds a new dimension and is a good tool for managing sensitive sites.”
For more information about sustainable fire management at CFA see www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/sustainable-fire-management/