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Prescribed burns in Victoria leave many hundreds, thousands of dead wildlife

Prescribed burns in Victoria, leave many hundreds of thousands of dead wildlife- have just watched this video and am shocked – had no idea how bad the results of prescribed burns are- video exposes unsustainable toll on native animals with planned & implemented burns in Victoria, causing immense suffering and death ~Maryland Wilson

Article reprinted from AWPC website

Government sanctioned prescribed burns is the biggest wildlife issue in Victoria.

One of the most critical issue is the restriction placed on wildlife rescuers and carers by DEPI which prevents them from attending fires & get in and do rescues before DEPI ‘clean up’ dead and kill injured wildlife.

Approximately 4 years ago DES compiled protocols for the rescue of animals from fire areas. Many rescuers and carers were trained in the protocols and bought their personal protection gear; some were given further training as Team Leaders which was sponsored by Wildlife Victoria, gaining a TAFE qualification. To date none of these rescuers and carers has been allowed onto any fire ground in time to save animals, they were kept waiting for days and weeks until the fire ground was ‘safe’ meaning cold.

The DEPI clean up is difficult to prove but there are stories of shooters being employed in Wilson’s Promontory National Park to shoot injured and dying animals but they are said to have run out of ammunition. Photos were only possible when people could get into fires before the ‘bag men’ arrived & buried the dead wildlife which they likely did at Walkerville this year. Out of sight out of mind

Public reaction to Sam Koala that the firemen gave ‘a drink’, in lead up to Black Saturday Fires was massive. However the original ‘Sam’ was injured during a fuel reduction burn and eventually died!

Scientists found that fire dramatically changes the abundance of resources critical to animals in semi-arid ecosystems, such as spinifex hummocks and tree hollows. This doesn’t just occur in the immediate aftermath of a fire; the impacts continue for a century after burning.

There needs to be an alternative approach that identifies areas to burn on the basis of where the greatest reduction in risk to life and property can be achieved, while also minimising the risk to biodiversity.

The Conversation: Burnoff policies could be damaging habitats for 100 years

With an election coming up it may be opportune for the incoming Government to pause and reflect on the situation with DEPI, the huge loss of wildlife and wildlife rescuers being allowed onto fire grounds.

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc is totally opposed to any deliberate burning and burning vast areas of vegetation much of which is remote from human habitation for perhaps, for no other reason than to fulfil the annual 5% requirement of prescribed burns as set by the Royal Commission for the sole reason of reaching the state-wide target. It's like shooting a dog to kill the fleas!

Groups based in Western Victoria, have produced a You Tube video titled ‘Victoria-what are we really burning?". It is an excellent, hard- hitting expose of the government’s fuel reduction burning program and its effects on native wildlife species. It encourages us all to write to Environment Ministers Victoria (and West Australia) urging them to review the burning program. We hope the video goes viral and minister gets swamped with angry responses from people everywhere. We hope it will lead to a change in government’s burning policy. DEMAND CHANGE.

Following the disastrous Black Saturday wildfires, the Victorian Government has established a policy to burn 5% of all public land each year despite any fires which have occurred by lightning or other means. Sadly, most of the burning occurs in national parks and wilderness areas (where no one lives), simply to reach their ‘target’ of burning nearly 400,000 hectares annually.

If successful in achieving their ‘target’ it would mean there’s no bush on public land in Victoria (including national parks) older than 20 years. As most people are aware, there are a great many species of native plants and animals that require old-growth habitats- such as the critically endangered Malleefowl and the Mallee Emu Wren.

This mindless burning program is carried out with little (if any) scientific research or long-term monitoring. “I can assure you that prescribed burns go far beyond barbarity- and need to be highlighted as such by us-if not us who else? Hope this helps. I want to see that full page spread on FACEBOOK” ~ Peta Rakela West Australia.

Peta says further “I do not think AWPC should drop the issue under any circumstance whatsoever. I have given thought to the matter and believe it is our responsibility to ensure that the public know the truth. Do not be silenced by others. A friend of mine uses the word perception a lot. She says that when you use it you are not putting yourself in the firing line re the threat of being sued. When I tell you the Victorian and West Australian Governments act barbarically, and criminally, that is exactly what I am telling you. You can state that there is a perception that the acts are criminal etc…There is a general perception… I am with you 100%- enough of the namby pamby talk- call it as you see it…it hasn’t worked for the last 200 plus years They are not only burning the ‘s- – -‘ out of everything but chopping every tree in sight down- this is lunacy- and incitement of mass hysteria and is totally irresponsible and reprehensible government policy. I’d also encourage a call for photos and evidence from general public to get it out there, date time place”

(image below on YouTube: Clive Crouch OAM Pic: dead koala/ring-tail possum)

CommunityRun petition: End deadly prescribed burns in Victoria


My email to Hon, Lisa Neville: Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change

The Hon. Lisa Neville, MP
Dear Lisa Neville,

The members of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council are concerned about the horrendous amount of burning in Victoria, of 5% each year, to reduce fuel.

For three years the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s independent monitor Neil Comrie has strongly advised the Victorian Government to abandon one of the commission’s recommendations: the call to burn 390,000ha of public land annually for fuel reduction.

Yet Environment Minister Ryan Smith is sticking to that target and, even more puzzling, DEPI plans to increase that annual target to an extraordinary 450,000ha. There is more than an environmental, but political reason for all this burning in our State! The evidence is increasing that this overly simplistic target is not the best way to increase public safety, and it is likely to lead to long-term damage to our finest natural areas.

Five leading fire behaviour scientists in Australia, Canada and the US have demonstrated that managing the ignition point of a fire through increased capacity for rapid attack, and by closing public access to remote areas during high fire danger days, was more effective in reducing the extent of fire than fuel management.

This is an over-reaction to Black Saturday, and is broad-scale burning all over our State, even in remote areas. The VNPA has always argued against the 5% target, saying it is an unnecessarily simplistic solution to a complex problem. Even the Royal Commission's own Expert Advisory panel said it wouldn't work. Many burns are now being undertaken in areas where they are impacting greatly on native species, such as the remarkable Mallee Fowl, a species that requires increasingly rare long-unburnt habitat. How many native birds, animals and their habitats must be destroyed when there's no guarantee that this carnage will avoid another Black Saturday?

Many studies show that we now have very little long-unburnt bush left in Victoria, even in remote areas such as the Mallee, and that the impacts on native wildlife are serious and growing. Already our native animals are struggling against multiple human impacts, and climate change, yet these burns will destroy more of their habitats, and cause carnage that can't be justified.

A more conclusive and targeted response would be to build fire-resistant homes, be fire-ready, and reduce fuel in targeted areas close to human habitation and livestock areas, not just in an ad hoc manner across the whole of our State.

The future statewide target of 390,000 ha is setting us on a level of management burning unprecedented in Victoria's history. This 'rolling target' (if it is not reached in any one year, the deficit is to be added to the next year's target) is to be achieved regardless of the extent of bushfire in any season.

Australia has the highest rate of mammal extinctions in modern times, and there's no room for complacency with regards the the protection and survival of our biodiversity.

We would appreciate your Party's policy and position on this issue, before the next State elections.

Thank you
Vivienne Ortega
Secretary, Australian Wildlife Protection Council
Suite 18, 288 Brunswick St
Fitzroy 3065 Victoria

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