Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps


Mt Magdala

What are the ecological costs of this summer’s fires?

In late November, fires started in East Gippsland as a result of lightning strikes. As noted by Peter Gardner, these went on to become major blazes. On new year’s eve, lightning storms started fires across the Victorian mountains and fire season came to the Alps with a vengeance.

Since then, huge areas of the Victorian Alps and Snowy Mountains have burnt. As at January 14, many of these are still going and, of course, the key priority is containing them.

But once it’s all over, we will need to count the ecological cost of these fires. Some areas in the Alps have now burnt three times in about 15 years. There is no doubt that longer fire seasons, driven by climate change, are already impacting on mountain and foothill environments.

The short answer at this stage is that we just don’t know what the full ecological impacts of these fires will be.

The following is a fairly random collection of reports on local impacts of the fires on mountain areas. It focuses on ecological values and impacts. Of course, this does not mean that human and economic impacts don’t matter. The narrow focus here is simply to try and share some information about what the impacts will be on natural systems, as the other stories are already being told widely in mainstream media. It will be added to as areas are re-opened to the public. I would welcome your reports for inclusion: please email text and stories to

Continue reading “What are the ecological costs of this summer’s fires?”

volunteers needed for Australian Alps Walking Track Project

Conservation Volunteers Australia and Parks Victoria are calling for volunteers to help restore remote sections of the 650-kilometre Australian Alps Walking Track.

Helicopter Spur
Helicopter Spur

Last summer saw helpers spend 120 days in Alpine National Park Across repairing 23 kilometres of track, laying 930 metres of rubber matting and installing water bars to prevent erosion at locations including The Knobs, Mount Sunday and Mount McDonald.

Remote sections of the track are difficult to maintain over time and help is needed to clear fallen timber off the track, install rubber tiling, brush-cut overgrown vegetation and to install crucial signage and symbols to help guide bushwalkers on their adventures in the Australian Alps.

There will be three projects in March and April which are rated hard walking, and involve remote camping in the King Billy/ Mt Magdala/ Mount Clear/Knobs areas of the Alpine National Park.

Full details here. (Search for Victorian projects on the map, then click the project in the Alpine national park) or check this leaflet on the trips.

For more info, contact volunteer engagement officer Adam Smolak on

The trips are:

Australian Alps Walking Track Project Mt Clear/Nobs Area
2nd to 8th March 2014
16th to 22nd March 2014
Please check here for more info.

Australian Alps Walking Track Project King Billy Mt Magdala Area
30th March to 5th April 2014

See more here.

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