The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) says it will begin a small fuel reduction burn in Arakwal National Park, Byron Bay, tomorrow morning (Tuesday May 22).
It’s intended reduce fuel loads near residential areas and to help save the endangered Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath.
NPWS Team Leader, Jenny Atkins, said that while the area being burnt is small it’s a complex task.
‘This 2.2-hectare burn might seem small but the close proximity to residential areas means there is lot of planning and forethought that goes into such an operation,’ Ms Atkins said.
‘Burns close to residential areas are very labour intensive involving many more fire fighters than would be the case in more remote areas.
‘We will be working very closely with colleagues from NSW Fire and Rescue to ensure the burn goes smoothly.
‘This is an ecological burn but we are also reducing fuel loads that will assist in limiting the intensity of any future wildfire that might enter the area during the hotter months,’ she said.
‘The ecological burns in Arakwal National Park will also work to protect the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath.
‘The Clay Heath is home to threatened species such the Byron Bay Donkey Orchid and the Dwarf Heath Casuarina, which are only found in this vegetation community,’ Ms Atkins said.
‘Fire is essential for the long-term survival of the Clay Heath and keeping country healthy and safe for the future.
‘Many of the plant species in the Clay Heath need fire to stimulate seed release, new growth and to complete their life cycle.
‘Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath consists of low-growing (up to 50 cm tall) woody shrubs, grasses and grass-like plants with patches of taller shrubs.
‘It is classified as an Endangered Ecological Community protected under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and more than 60 per cent of [it] is located within Arakwal National Park.
‘Our Restoration Management Plan for the Clay Heath guides our program when caring for this important part of country and so far we have undertaken weed control, track works and removal of encroaching native vegetation in the Clay Heath over the last few years.
‘When the burn is undertaken the walking tracks within Arakwal National Park at Pacific Vista Drive, Milne Street and Paterson Street Lookout will be closed and part of Paterson Street, Milne Street and Pacific Vista Drive will have traffic control in place during the burn operation,’ Ms Atkins said.