With the goal of reducing the impact of bushfires on life, property, and the environment, the Belmont Wetlands State Park Trust contracted Kleinfelder to prepare a Bushfire Management Plan (BMP) to assess bushfire risk within the Park and define mitigation actions and responsibilities of the Trust.
The Spread of Non-Endemic Species
The Park, managed by a small team of staff and volunteers and located on over 500 hectares of Crown Land, presented several challenges. The site had experienced numerous arson-initiated bushfires with a history of few prescribed burns. In addition, the use of chemical weed controls were avoided, not only because they negatively impacted native species but were also cost prohibitive. The lack of weed control had led to the spread of non-endemic species, such as Acacia Saligna.
Utilising a Low Intensity Burn
Kleinfelder prepared a BMP outlining measures to reduce the risk of bushfire in the Park. A prescribed burn within the Park was recommended to reduce the risk posed by the fuel load potential. By using a low-intensity burn, weed species were targeted with minimal impact on endemic native species. This in turn reduced reliance on costly and harmful chemicals for weed control and promoted regeneration of desirable native species. The burn also served as a trial for curtailing the spread of Acacia Saligna. Kleinfelder is providing ongoing monitoring and assessment to determine the effectiveness of burns on reducing the spread of the tree, as well as other non-endemic species, in the Park. Kleinfelder took the opportunity to train the park rangers in fire awareness and response. Thus, enhancing their capability to address small sporadic / deliberate bushfires within the Park.
Implementation of Kleinfelder’s BMP effectively reduced the fuel load within the Park, lowering fire risk within the wider community.
The approach of using a low intensity burn minimised the impact on native species within the Park. By developing the park rangers’ first responder skills, Kleinfelder contributed to the Park’s ongoing efforts to reduce human induced ignitions.
Belmont, New South Wales
Belmont Wetlands State Park