The fires across East Gippsland this summer have had devastating impacts on land and forests, waterways and native species, local economies and people’s lives and properties.
One glimmer of good news has been the fact that many of the cool temperate rainforest strong holds have been spared from much of the fire. Most of the famed Kuark forest has not burnt (or has possibly been ‘burnt lightly’ according to reports from the field), and the Errinundra Plateau has been spared any major fires. It appears that the Goolengook rainforest has been partially burnt. (Extra info here).
But now there are reports that back burning operations were carried out several days ago between the VIC/NSW border and the Errinundra Plateau, in order to save the Bondi pine plantations in southern NSW. Yesterday (JAN 30) in the 40 degree heat, the fires from these spotted across the Coast Range Road into the most valuable area of the Errinundra national park. The scale of these fires is not yet known.
We will update as additional information comes to hand.
[With thanks to Jill Redwood for this information]
Update Feb 4: GOOD NEWS
Friends of Errinundra report:
“Aerial survey of the fire on Errinundra shows that the Big Rainforest site on the Coast Range has had some fire at it’s edge, but so far is relatively untouched. The Coast Range Rainforest is the largest patch of Cool Temperate Rainforest on main land Australia. Other observations are that Rainforest gullies which hopefully includes First Creek Falls seem to be ok. We live in hope”.
Update: FEB 1:
“The latest Emergency Vic map shows fire impacts in the headwaters of Errinundra river to the junction of First Creek, on the west branch near Crows Rd and in the north eastern part of the park to the east of Hensleigh Creek Rd. But most of First Creek (a really significant section of old rainforest) appears unburnt, as well as the large stand of cool temperate rainforest (the biggest in Victoria) on Rooty Break Creek and the forests on the Goonmirk Range appear not to be in the impact zone”.