Fire fuel load reduction works in the City of Joondalup
Bushfire risk management is a key responsibility of local governments where there is a significant risk of bushfire in an area. Funding received through the Department of Fire and Emergency Services has assisted the City of Joondalup to undertake fuel load reduction activities in its high-risk reserves and Natural Area assisted with these bushfire mitigation works in six of the City’s reserves (a total of 21 hectares).
Natural Area’s works involved:
- Maintenance of firebreaks by removing vegetation and pruning over hanging branches.
- Skirting of grass trees and removal of deadwood and fallen branches to reduce fuel load specifically targeting under 6mm fine material that ignites easily.
- Slashing of dead grass to reduce ember travel.
- Removal of weedy trees such as Acacia iteaphylla which is a fast-growing species from the eastern states that forms dense thickets in our WA bushlands.
Retention of habitat was balanced against the need for fuel reduction, this is especially so with Grass Trees as they are the preferred habitat of Quenda (Isoodon fusciventer) as well as other animals and reptiles.
These works resulted in a reduction in fuel load of 2-3 tonnes per hectare on average, higher reductions were achieved in high-risk areas. Firebreaks were improved to allow vehicle access and a defined separation of vegetation. Forward planning and the implementation of prevention techniques such as the above, minimise the risk to public, property and the environment.
Article by Nathan Pemberton, Natural Area Team Leader