Fewer burns could see greater biodiversity: environmentalist
CONSTRUCTIVE and sensible controlled burns need to be carried out, otherwise the Fraser Coast will see more out-of-control wildfires, a member of the Dundowran rural fire brigade says.
Volunteer firefighter David Kohler was responding to the claims of Fraser Coast environmentalist Roger Currie, who said excessive burning undertaken by rural fire brigades was hurting biodiversity on the Fraser Coast.
My Currie said if cutbacks by the Newman government continued and led to funding cuts to the local rural fire brigades, it could have an unexpected benefit for the region's wildlife as it could mean fewer controlled burns.
He acknowledged that this could also lead to a greater threat to lives and properties.
"This is debate the community really needs to have," Mr Currie said.
"I'm not saying we should stop burning to protect people's properties."
But he did feel that too much burning could affect the region's biodiversity and could particularly hurt threatened species such as koalas.
While Mr Currie wasn't suggesting rural fire brigades were deliberately damaging local ecosystems, he said more management was needed to protect the biodiversity area.
Mr Kohler said wildlife would be under more threat from wildfires if controlled burns weren't carried out.
"We're not doing enough," he said.
"There's a lot of land that needs doing."
Excessive burning wasn't what was needed, Mr Kohler said, instead advocating fire breaks that would prevent the spread of bushfires that got out of control.
"We need fire breaks to stop it getting too bad," he said.
Mr Kohler said some areas were overgrown and that would spell disaster for wildlife if a fire broke out.
A corridor is left for animals to escape the flames with a controlled burn but wildfires are a lot less forgiving.
"It's got to be done."