May 5, 2022, 14:00 PM
Bayside Bushland Crew member
Another year of successful burns for the Bayside Bushland Crew, with Long Hollow and Bay Road Heathland Sanctuaries set alight to awaken the seeds of indigenous flora long awaiting fire.
Long Hollow Heathland Sanctuary, previously burnt in 1984, was predominated by Coastal Tea Tree (Leptospermum laevigatum) which was cut and used as fuel for the burn.
In comparison, Bay Road Heathland Reserve is ‘old Heath’, having seen no invasion of woody weeds species since European settlement and sparse fire regimes resulting in a diverse array of species present. Both sites were 4,000m2 to be burnt.
Ignition points for both sites were carefully chosen on the day to best protect asset areas (residential houses, schools and other parts of the heathland) that were adjacent to the burns.
In such a highly modified and urban area burning requires the attention of site terrain, burning downslope away from amenities to ensure a less intense fire, less smoke and greater control of its direction.
Fire behaviour is directly related to the amount of fuel and degree of slope with every 10 degrees of slope fire will double in speed.
On both occasions on the night following the burns, many nocturnal animals were observed scouting the areas for skinks and rodents that weren’t so lucky.
Within 24 hours, ant mounds had also formed turning over the burnt ground, making use of the fresh ash bed and aerating the soil for fungi and seeds to germinate.
Hopefully, in the months to come, we see some historic flora emerge from the ash bed as has happened in other areas of the reserves, such as some Schoenus species, Gompholobium huegelii and Machaerina acuta, all species that have been missing from these reserves for decades.
Video Credit: Cameron Arden, Bushland Crew MemberBanner photo courtesy of Pauline Reynolds
Simon Mossman - Group Corporate Communications
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