[Forum] The next six months provides us with an opportunity to improve the readiness of the Bouddi Peninsula to cope with next year’s fire season.
The expert NSW inquiry into the bushfires is commendable.
However, its recommendations are unlikely to be comprehensively implemented before the next fire season arises.
I note that Central Coast Council recently confirmed its commitment “to undertaking responsible decision-making regarding mitigation, adaptation and risk management” as a result of the 2019-20 bush fire season.
However, it opted to wait for the NSW Inquiry findings rather than immediately consider actions which help to reduce the fuel load ahead of next year’s fire season since, it is unlikely that such findings could be comprehensively implemented in the shorter time period.
While this approach is understandable given the scaremongering, finger pointing and a poor community awareness of the issues, there must be some actions which can be immediately implemented which have strong expert and community support.
At the Climate Change Meeting at Killcare Surf Life Saving Club on February 27, fire management expert Bob Conroy said lightning strikes overwhelming started most of the fires, not arsonists.
He also pointed out that past fuel burns in national parks were only partially successful in slowing the fires and very little effort had gone into fuel reduction of privately-owned tracts of land close to national parks.
Bouddi Peninsula’s centrepiece is our national parks.
Alas, land which has been left to accumulate fuel by absentee landowners is probably a greater fire risk which could be addressed without waiting for the Inquiry’s recommendations.
Council could take the lead and work co-operatively with the Rural Fire Service and National Parks to readily identify these properties and use the powers under the Rural Fires Act NSW to issue a notice requiring specified bush fire hazard reduction work.
Additionally, key fire escape routes such as Wards Hill Rd, The Scenic Rd and Maitland Bay Dr need overhanging trees cleared so that there is less likelihood of fallen trees closing off escape routes.
The further clearing of fire trails is also a no brainer.
Email, 1 Mar 2020
Susan Brooks, Killcare Heights.