Following our visits to the DSE burn site in the Tarilta Gorge [see our post] we have written to DSE management in Bendigo seeking a response to the following questions:
1. Last year in our submission on fire zones we drew attention to the steep slopes in this area, and the need to be extra careful in any burning operation. Given that heavy rain was predicted in the week after the proposed burn, why was there evidently no effort to protect the steeper slopes? [Sludge in the creek is up to a metre deep in parts. In walking along the creek bed you can go up to your waist at one point in soil and ash]
2. We’re still at a loss as to DSE’s inability to protect large trees from these burns. Red box on the slopes and even larger trees on the valley floor have been destroyed. We’d like to know what kind of supervision takes place in this area.
3. The Ecological Management Zone’s purpose is ‘promoting biodiversity and ecological renewal. Planned burning will be used to manage native species and ecological communities which require fire to regenerate.’ Can you tell us which species you had in mind in this operation? Is there baseline data to enable an assessment of the success of the operation?
4. We were under the impression that in this zone the intention is to do a mosaic burn covering about one third of the area. It seems to us that much more was actually burnt. Can you tell us what your estimate is of the burn coverage?
We’ll post the reply as soon as it’s available.