The Friends of Kalimna Park have been informed that the DEPI burn planned for this autumn has been deferred to next year, to allow for more detailed planning of this exercise close to Castlemaine. The fuel reduction exercise will involve some mechanical removal of vegetation around Eltham Copper Butterfly colonies in the zone.
This management burn was originally planned as two exercises: one [in the Kalimna Point area] of 23 ha, the other, [adjoining the golf course] of145 ha. These two have now been combined into a single zone of 170 ha.
Conservationists have argued to DEPI that this sensitive exercise on the edge of town should best be handled in stages, in very small lots: the advantage of this being that the desired fuel reduction could be obtained in a mosaic manner, minimising ecological damage and reduction of amenity in a heavily used area. We suspect, however, that DEPI is under political pressure to increase the size of its burn blocks: big burns, it seems, are cheaper. Our suspicions have been strengthened by remarks made by DEPI deputy head Paul Smith in March [see our report].
The Kalimna burn [coded CAS 003] is zoned 2, Bushfire Management. In this zone managers aim for an 80% burn cover.