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Rains prompt burn-off

Tuesday, 20th September, 2011

The welcome rain that brought the bush back to life has resulted in Sturt National Park having to conduct its first ever burn-off to cut the risk of bushfires.

Following two years of above average rainfall, the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service last week made a firebreak more than 20 kilometres long in the park.

The firebreak was completed along the southern boundary of the park, about 60 kilometres north-west of Tibooburra.

NPWS Tibooburra Area Manager, Ingrid Witte, said the hazard reduction operation was meant to stop bushfires from going into or out of the park. 

The rainfall had caused a big increase in vegetation, particularly grasses, said Ms Witte.

“This has created a potential fire hazard that has not been seen in this area for more than thirty years,” she said.

A series of strip burns were undertaken over three days to make a narrow corridor that will limit the spread of fire caused by lightning strikes over the summer, she said.

The job also let National Parks fire crews sharpen their skills.

Crews from Bourke, White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Mutawintji and Broken Hill provided assistance along with local staff, Ms Witte said.

“We do not experience many fires in this area, so the opportunity to develop our staff and learn about fire behaviour in the arid zone is very important,” she said.

“For example, we learned that the greatest fire hazard occurs on the larger sand dunes, which carry more grass and low trees such as mulga.” 

Ms Witte thanked local businesses who provided catering and other supplies during the burn-off.


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