Recovering from the 2019-20 fires

The 2019-20 bushfire season is the most widespread and extreme that NSW has ever experienced.

More than 2.5 million hectares of national park estate has burned (as at 10 January 2020). In some regions, over 50% of the national park estate has been impacted.

Wildlife habitat in many national parks is still under threat. Our immediate priority is the suppression and control of existing fires to protect life, property and remaining habitat in our national parks. National Parks and Wildlife staff are working in conjunction with Rural Fire Service and other fire agencies in direct firefighting roles and incident management teams.

Impact on wildlife

The fires have had a severe impact on wildlife. Many animals have been affected by the fires, including threatened species.

Animals that survive the fire have little or no food, water or shelter. They are at increased risk from feral predators such as cats and foxes, and from starvation and dehydration.

Many important habitats will take years to recover or may never recover to their pre-fire state

What we are doing

Alongside our ongoing efforts to fight the current fires, the NSW Government is designing and implementing an emergency recovery plan to protect and restore wildlife populations.

We are conducting a rapid assessment to identify the proportion of habitat that has been lost for key threatened species, and to identify the critical remaining habitat areas.

Interventions to protect threatened species and refugial habitat have commenced on the ground.

Supplementary food, shelter and water

For threatened species we are providing:

  • targeted food drops for brush-tailed rock-wallabies and other species
  • watering points for koalas and other species.

For example, we are providing supplementary feed for brush-tailed rock-wallabies in Blue Mountains National Park, Jenolan Karst Conservation Reserve, and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.

Feral animal control

We will conduct one of the largest fox baiting programs in the state’s history, targeted trapping and shooting of feral cats and other control measures. For example, feral animal control is taking place in early January in burned areas including Gwydir Wetlands Nature Reserve, Mount Kaputar National Park and Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. This targets pigs, deer, goats, foxes and cats, to protect threatened species and refugial areas.

Intensive weed control

We will deploy an intensive weed control program to protect sensitive habitats from invasive weeds like bitou bush and orange hawkweed.

Wildlife rehabilitators and carers

We are providing advice and support to wildlife rehabilitators and carers. In November 2019 we provided an additional $1.47 million support for the State's dedicated army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators to help them meet the growing demands of rescuing more than 100,000 animals every year.

Inventory surveys and monitoring

We’re implementing a large-scale program of inventory surveys and monitoring to locate refugial populations and track the success of these interventions.

The recovery of our parks will be ongoing. This page will be updated regularly as more information becomes available.