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Firefighters, prescribed burns help extinguish Purnululu fires

Fire mosaic in Purnululu National Park
Fire mosaic in Purnululu National Park Parks and Wildlife

 

Department of Parks and Wildlife staff have successfully extinguished two large bushfires which recently closed the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park for several days.

The fires were the result of lightning strikes during localised storms in the park.

Bushfire incident controller Nathan Connor said up to 18 department firefighters were involved in the suppression effort, with a five-man crew flown in from Pemberton to assist east Kimberley-based staff.

“Utilising staff from the south-west to gain experience in fire suppression across northern parts of the State was an excellent opportunity to increase the capacity of Parks and Wildlife crews and enabled the Kimberley team to have a much needed break from the fire line,” Mr Connor said.

Prescribed burning operations in Purnululu completed earlier in the year by Parks and Wildlife played a pivotal role in minimising the extent and impact of the fires.

“Areas burnt early in the season, under controlled conditions and in a mosaic pattern, provide protection to visitors and assets at Purnululu by reducing flammable fuel loads,” Mr Connor said.

“These mosaics also gave fire crews the chance to contain the fire from impacting a much larger area of the park.

“Low fuel areas also provide safe refuge for many small mammals in the path of a fire and enable them to later recolonise the area.

“The landscape mosaic approach to fire management helps build resilience to cope with naturally-occurring events within a very fire prone environment; it also helps minimise the overall impact of a single fire on the biodiversity and cultural values of the Kimberley.” 

The fires started on 15 October and 2 November and took a total of 12 days to contain, with crews tackling the blaze on the ground from strategic firebreaks, low fuel areas and established control lines.

A Parks and Wildlife-contracted aircraft provided vital information about fire movement and assisted with the coordination of the control effort.

The 209,000ha Purnululu National Park, home to the world-renowned Bungle Bungle Ranges, has been reopened to the public.

 

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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Last modified on Wednesday, 12 November 2014 14:37