New community group forms in Denmark to investigate prescribed burning practices

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
A prescribed burn casts a glow over Denmark last month.
Camera IconA prescribed burn casts a glow over Denmark last month. Credit: Kendel Lynam

A new Denmark community group will investigate prescribed burning on the south coast.

Denmark Environment Centre convenor David Rastrick said the Denmark Community Fire Safety and Ecology Group was formed in response to members’ questions and general public concern.

“While community safety is non-negotiable, fire safety goes hand-in-hand with keeping the bush in good condition,” he said.

“A significant concern to DEC is environmental — what are the impacts on the fauna, flora and soil ecology both in the short and long term? Associated with this is the impact on climate change.”

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The group said they would look into prescribed burns by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, as well as the Shire of Denmark.

A DBCA spokeswoman said the department had worked hard to reduce fuel loads in areas surrounding Denmark and Walpole to provide better protection to the community from intense summer bushfires.

“From a biodiversity perspective, prescribed burning is undertaken to maintain a range of wildlife habitat types through the creation of low-fuel areas in a mosaic of burnt and unburnt patches across the landscape,” the spokeswoman said.

“Prescribed burns occur in more favourable conditions than intense summer bushfires, enabling animals to safely move into areas of unburnt vegetation and various plant species opportunities to regenerate.

“It also contributes to reducing the impact of severe bushfires on vegetation, soils and water catchments.”

Shire of Denmark chief executive David Schober said the Shire would meet the community group soon. “We are committed to open and transparent communication with all groups concerning their current bushfire mitigation program,” he said.

“The Shire recently held a number of community workshops, funded through the Natural Disaster Resilience Fund, aimed at educating the broader community in undertaking bushfire mitigation activities on their own properties whilst preserving biodiversity.”

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