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Mountain Journal

Environment, news, culture from the Australian Alps

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East Gippsland

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

In mid December, large fires started in East Gippsland. 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 cam.walker@foe.org.au

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

Big fire day across the mountains

[WED Jan 1UPDATE: I am away with the CFA at present and not in a position to update this page until further notice so please don’t rely on it for updates – please check the relevant government agency websites which you will find if you scroll down. Thanks]

There are some links on how to support recovery and emergency efforts available here.

And I’m still doing some updates on the Mountain Journal facebook page, mostly around park and road closures.

[Monday December 30 2019]

Here we go. We have a long, hot, scary day ahead of us, with extreme fire risk across all mountain areas.

In Victoria, authorities are calling on all people in East Gippsland (east of Bairnsdale) to leave the area, in case the Princes Highway needs to be closed. Mountain communities like Goongerah are at imminent risk of being hit by fires. The W Tree Yalmy fire is still not yet under control, nor is the Ensay Ferntree fire. Firefighters and aircraft are responding to four new fires north-west of Gelantipy which were started by dry lightning earlier his morning.

In NSW there has already been at least one small fire started by dry lightning in the Snowy Mountains (it is under control).

In Tasmania, today is a Day of Total Fire Ban, but authorities warn that tomorrow could be even worse, and that people in bushland areas should consider leaving for urban areas.

Continue reading “Big fire day across the mountains”

Fire season frontline in VIC: East Gippsland and North East Alps

In the Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook produced in August, it was clear that East Gippsland and the Alps were facing a long and difficult fire season. Even though it is only early December, there have already been a series of large fires on both public and private land in both these sections of the state.

The ABC reports:

There have been six fires of significance over the past two weeks in East Gippsland.

Authorities were most concerned about fires near Gelantipy, Bruthen, and Ensay.

The fires were caused by dry lightning that ignited dozens of fires along the Great Dividing Range.

Incident controller Andy Gillham said the Country Fire Authority and DELWP were not caught off-guard by the fires.

“With all the modelling that has been done by the fire researchers, they said it would be an above-average season for East Gippsland,” he said.

“Because the landscape is so dry we had lightning and fires. We did have an early start to the season, but we weren’t caught off-guard”.

Check the Emergency VIC website for updates on fires.

 

 

Victorian government protects Old Growth forests

In a major announcement, the Andrews government has stated that it will ‘immediately’ protect all remaining old growth forest on the east of the state as part of a plan to phase out native forest logging and protect 96,000 hectares of forests. The old growth areas amounts to 90,000 hectares of mountain and foothill forests.

Environmental groups such as Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) and Friends of the Earth (FoE) have welcomed the announcement and also called for the release of extra detail and maps to ensure the announcement results in lasting and effective protection.

This outcome is especially good news for the heartland of remaining old growth – the hill country of East Gippsland.

Continue reading “Victorian government protects Old Growth forests”

Report shows destruction of Greater Glider habitat

A new report from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) has been published which documents logging of more than 600 hectares of Greater Glider habitat in East Gippsland since the species was listed as vulnerable under Victorian legislation in June 2017.

Gliding towards extinction – an investigation into Greater Glider habitat logged since the species was listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act highlights how government inaction and failing environmental laws are having dire consequences for forest dependent threatened species in Victoria.

Continue reading “Report shows destruction of Greater Glider habitat”

Citizen Science Camp in East Gippsland

Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) will be running citizen science camps in 2019. The first one will happen in far east Gippsland over the Labour Day weekend in March.

Continue reading “Citizen Science Camp in East Gippsland”

Citizen Science Survey Camp – Spring 2018

The Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), based in far east Gippsland is hosting a citizen science survey over the Melbourne Cup long weekend in November (November 3 – 6, 2018).

“You will learn from the dedicated and passionate ecologists and activists at GECO whose citizen science campaign is saving forests from logging. We’ll be based in and around Goongerah, including surrounding high conservation value and old growth forests, and the iconic Kuark forest”.

Continue reading “Citizen Science Survey Camp – Spring 2018”

Emerald Link film launched

The idea of the Emerald Link – a park that would connect the coastline of far East Gippsland with the mountains in the Errinundra Plateau – has been around for a while now. This week a film on the vision was launched.

You can watch the film here >>https://www.emeraldlink.com.au/

You can get involved and active to make the Emerald Link a reality. Join us at this information night on August 15th in Melbourne. Info here https://www.facebook.com/events/1749030375132344/

Emerald Link film to be launched

East Gippsland is the only place on mainland Australia with continuous forests from the alps to the sea.

The vision to see the Emerald Link created seeks to protect this precious landscape and biodiversity and create a viable economic future based on nature tourism.

Last year, Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) shot a stunning film about the proposal. Produced by award winning cinematographer David Franjic from Colour Chorus. The Emerald Link film captures the wild beauty of East Gippsland’s forests and the stories of the people who love it. It is being launched on July 7.

Continue reading “Emerald Link film to be launched”

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