Temperature Rising as Calls for a Burning Review Grow

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WA Greens MLC Diane Evers has endorsed a statement by the recently established Denmark Fire Study Group (DFSG) calling on the WA Government to review its current prescribed burning practices.

Ms Evers, The Greens (WA) spokesperson for forestry, has endorsed a statement representing community and organisational stakeholders and said the DFSG will reflect concerns she has listened to for years from environmentalists in the region.

The statement backed by Ms Evers has received 18 endorsements to date, with a further 22 endorsements from the scientific community supporting a second statement. 

The DFSG plans to present the two statements to Premier Mark McGowan next month, with Ms Evers also intending to table a petition in Parliament on behalf of the group.

An online petition calling for a review into prescribed burning practices, set up by the Denmark Environment Centre, has also received nearly 2,000 signatures to date.

Ms Evers recently read a letter in State Parliament from DFSG member Bart Lebbing to the Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, which detailed the group’s concerns about the unsustainable environmental impact of current burning practices.

Those interested in supporting the DFSG’s call to the McGowan Government can get in touch by contacting the Denmark Fire Study Group on 0477 269 295 or emailing at  firestudydenmark@gmail.com.

QUOTES ATTRIBUTED TO DIANE EVERS MLC:

“As the devastating 2019/20 bushfires demonstrated, we need to know more about the cumulative impact of logging and prescribed burning in our forests.

“I have called in the past for a thorough review of bushfire mitigation practices in Western Australia and admire the commitment shown by the Denmark Fire Study Group to drive grassroots action for change.

“Recent work by the Centre for Environmental Risk Management of Bushfires’ Dr Philip Zylstra has indicated that, in Australian forests studied to date, prescribed burning increases fire risk in the medium-to-long term.

“Despite ongoing research on similar impacts in Western Australian forests, the McGowan Government is currently adhering to a broad-brush burning policy that destroys vast areas of land at high temperatures.

“We must abandon annual burning targets and instead focus on strategic planning around towns and infrastructure alongside investment in research into the implementation of early detection and rapid suppression of bushfires before they develop into wildfires.

“Indigenous custodians of the land used the practice of small mosaic-style burning at cool temperatures to manage the land for tens of thousands of years, I believe there is so much more we can learn from these methods with regard to contemporary bushfire mitigation.

“I’m encouraged that a number of community, environmental and scientific stakeholders will join me in endorsing the DFSG’s statements and I plan to table a petition in Parliament on the group’s behalf next month.” 

KEY STATEMENT POINTS:

  • Remove the prescribed burning target for the Forest Management Plan area of the South West and adopt alternative approaches for protection from wildfires that are less detrimental to our environment
  • Support research and implementation of early detection and rapid suppression of bushfires before they develop into wildfires.
  • Increase support for research and monitoring of the ecological impacts of prescribed burning and wildfires.
  • Encourage research into cost efficiency and effectiveness of broad-scale prescribed burning, comparing it to selective, risk assessed, strategic mitigation activities close to infrastructure and implement recommendations.
  • End broad-scale prescribed burning in the conservation estate distant from towns with land management focused on ecological objectives to conserve and protect the unique flora and fauna within these hotspots of biodiversity.
  • Designate non-transferable Fire Exclusion Reference Areas (FERA) of significant size in all vegetation types, to enable the study of the impact of fire on biodiversity and the health and long-term viability of flora and fauna.

GET IN TOUCH:
Hon. Diane Evers
MLC for South West
(08) 9486 8070

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