FIRE – FRIEND AND FOE
Aboriginal people managed the fuel load, hunting and
regeneration of new growth in forests using small, cool fires,
a fire management technique that continues to be employed
Fire management is a balance of reducing the impact
of fires and harnessing their ability to regenerate the native
bush. In its wild form, fire is tackled head on to protect the
forest resource and surrounding communities and property
from this raging beast.
The methods and techniques have evolved over the
years with an increased focus today on protecting the forest
firefighter. Today, fire management is approached with the
same scientific rigour that foresters bring to other aspects
of forest management, drawing on research and technology
to better predict, prevent and respond to fires.
Fire in the landscape has impacted the nature of the
forest today. Large fires on the north coast in the late 1960s
and around Eden in the 1970s resulted in large areas of
even-aged regrowth which is still evident today. Significant
fires in plantations pose a real risk to the timber resource
and can have a large economic impact as seen with the Billo
Road fire around Tumut in 2006.
LEFT: Hazard reduction has long been part of forest management
and is still one of the major roles of today’s forester. This photo
depicts the use of hazard reduction burning in the Blue Mountains
at a time when travel by horseback was still commonplace amongst
RIGHT: Our native forests need fire to regenerate, which makes
managing the forests after a fire one of the most important
activities for foresters. This 1980s photo highlights the delicacy of
the environment after a fire.