New DELWP plan for Barjarg Rd burn

Parlours Block - Proposed Planned burning Autumn 2016 as at 13042016

Parlours Block: yellow highlight- planned burn of drier forest; green line- candling of messmate trees around perimeter and internal access track.

DELWP and Minister Neville have adopted a new plan for this season’s Barjarg Rd burn. Whilst this is very welcome news, the devil is always in the detail – and the forest is still soooo dry!

You will remember that the primary focus of this 3000 ha burn was Parlours Block, 650 hectares of the upper catchment of Parlours/Sugarloaf Ck. Minister Lisa Neville has now assured us that…

Priority will be now be given to the Strathbogie South – Dry Creek  burn [see footnote] and the Parlours Block component of the Strathbogie – Barjarg Rd burn. Both fall within the Bushfire Moderation Zone (BMZ) and have the greatest strategic value to risk reduction. 

The original planned Barjarg burn has been divided into three areas, Parlours,  Harpers and Moonee blocks. Harpers and Moonee blocks will not be scheduled to be planned burned this year. The following treatment are proposed for Parlours Block this Autumn if conditions allow:

  • Candling of Messmate trees to reduce bark hazard in the southern half of the burn area.  This operation is being conducted to  reduce the risk to fire fighters should a fire occur in that block and reduce the risk of a future burn or bushfire escaping due to spotting of embers. The candling should also have a beneficial effect to protect trees in a future fire or planned burn.  The candling operation will involve igniting the fibrous outer bark when the ground fuels are damp and will not sustain a ground fire.  This operation will have minimal impact on the health of standing trees within the forest. Trees with hollows will not be targeted.
  • The drier ridges and aspects in the northern parts of Parlours block will be planned to be burnt to reduce fuel hazard,  under fuel moisture and soil dryness conditions that will limit the chance of the burn running over consecutive days and into the moist areas of this block.  This operation will be targeted at reducing fuel risk on the drier forest types within this block.

Notwithstanding some concerns and questions (that we’ll be taking up with DELWP staff), Our Strathbogie Forest certainly welcomes this new plan:

  • It’s strategic, targeting the drier, more flammable, northern and western slopes.
  • It takes the high conservation values of Parlours Block into account.
  • It purposefully tries to avoid areas within Parlours Block that have high densities of old-growth trees.
  • It’s scale is manageable at an ecological and human level.
  • It’s in a location that DELWP considers a high fire risk.
  • DELWP has committed to monitor the impact of this burn (should it proceed) on hollow bearing trees.

Here are some pictures of the forest in the proposed plan burn area (highlighted yellow on the above map).

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[Footnote] The Dry Ck planned burn is a burn on the southern margin of the Strathbogie State Forest, north of the district of Dry Creek. Our group doesn’t know this part of the forest and we haven’t spoken to the local community down there. We’re still concerned that the impact of a planned burn in these drought conditions could be disastrous for the forest, but we decided some time ago not to engage with DELWP on this burn.

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