Readers will be familiar with our repeated complaint that DELWP’s fuel reduction exercises frequently destroy valuable old hollow bearing trees. This is unintentional, but often seems to us to be plain careless. It isn’t just a local problem: Gippsland research has shown that hollow bearing trees are 22 times more likely to fall down in fuel reduction zones than in unburnt areas.
In response to questions about this, Simon Brown, senior DELWP fire management officer for Murray Goldfields, has informed us that ‘standard operating procedures’ have been adopted to try to avoid such disasters in the future. [The most recent one was in an otherwise mild burn in Kalimna Park in 2015].
Among other things, fire zones will be checked the day after the operation to make sure no large trees are burning at the base. It’s frequently been observed by local residents that DELWP fires smoulder on unattended for days, and we have had assurances before that sites will be more attentively monitored. We’ll watch this one great interest.