Largest hazard reduction burn a success in Morton National Park

Last week the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) successfully completed one of the largest hazard reduction burns ever undertaken in Morton National Park.

View towards Pigeon House Mountain/Didthul Mountain during NPWS hazard reduction in May 2017

NPWS Ulladulla Area Manager Neale Watson said the 9000-hectare burn took NPWS crews two days to complete in an area of the park that had not experienced fire for at least 30 years.

"The burn, just north of Pigeon House Mountain Didthul, was managed by our very experienced ground crews and supported from the air," said Mr Watson.

"NPWS' helicopter used incendiaries to light up and help contain the movement of the low intensity burn across the landscape.

"Burns of this scale take a long time in the planning and we must get the prescription perfect, taking advantage of low winds from the right direction and lower humidity.

"Also required was a solid forecast of rain in the days following the burn to help control any unplanned spread of the fire," said Mr Watson.

Hazard reduction activities provide a buffer in summer from wildfires and in this case also play an important role in maintaining biological diversity.

Many species of native plants depend on fire for their reproduction. For example banksia cones will not open without fire.

Some rare species of orchid also need to wait for a fire before they can get some light and flower.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of this burn, over some pretty spectacular country," Mr Watson said.

"We thank the RFS, neighbours and local Aboriginal Custodians for supporting these hazard reduction operations and apologise for any inconvenience caused by smoke from the burn," Mr Watson said.

This burn is one of many hazard reduction operations undertaken by NPWS across NSW each year, many with assistance from the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW.

They are part of the NSW Government's $76 million package over six years to boost bushfire preparedness and double hazard reduction in the State's national parks, where conditions allow.

More information on hazard reduction activities: www.rfs.nsw.gov.au and the RFS "Fires near me app."

Photos for media: Morton National Park hazard reduction burn May 2017.