Page 530 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 13 February 2013

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much more sophisticated understanding of how to manage those fuel loads and a consistent plan to undertake that management. I think that is reassuring for the Canberra community.

The ACT Rural Fire Service worked with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service to undertake a number of preparatory measures in the lead-up to the 2012-13 bushfire season, including completion of upgrades to the Mount Franklin and Cotter Hut roads, enabling access for heavy firefighting equipment into a remote area of Namadgi national park. They also undertook significant upgrades to the Stockyard Spur walking track, delivering enhanced protection to water catchment values.

So far this season a total of 21 hazard reduction burns have been completed, covering approximately 300 hectares. A further 21 burns, covering another 12,000 hectares, is scheduled for completion before the end of the financial year. Two of these burns cover over 10,000 hectares between them in Namadgi national park and are currently being planned to ensure ecological values are protected. Fuel reduction works have commenced in the Molonglo River corridor to ensure the safety of the nearby urban development whilst ensuring the protection of endangered species habitat along the Molonglo River.

As has been discussed today, last month we saw lightning strikes on 8 January which initially ignited two fires in the national park. The work that was done before 8 January saved us from a major fire event in Namadgi. The very prompt and aggressive attack by our RFS volunteers and parks brigade personnel in Namadgi in getting on top of three fires over the next few days meant that those fires were not able to burn and run into the national park in a major way.

The first fire was near Sentry Box peak in the far south of Namadgi, a particularly inaccessible part of the park. Specially trained TAMS staff formed two remote area firefighting teams with Rural Fire Service volunteers. Both teams were helicopter-winched into the area to quickly construct a firebreak around the blaze and guide water bombing helicopters onto the fire. Over the ensuing days, the remote area firefighting teams were able to completely extinguish the blaze before the onset of extreme fire weather returned the following week.

The second fire, north of Mount Ginini, was able to be more easily accessed by crews in firefighting vehicles. The recent upgrade of the Mount Franklin Road completed by TAMS in 2012 enabled heavy bulldozers to gain access to the fire ground. Prior to these upgrade works, heavy vehicles such as bulldozers, which are invaluable in firefighting efforts, could not gain access to this area of the park. Bulldozers were guided around sensitive subalpine bog habitat, home to the endangered corroboree frog, and a mineral earth trail was constructed around the fire. Together with the efforts of parks firefighters and water bombing helicopters, the Ginini fire was kept out of the very sensitive sphagnum bog habitat and also extinguished before the onset of extreme fire weather the following week.

The success in quickly containing the fire at Mount Ginini can be directly attributed to the significant amount of bushfire preparation and infrastructure work that has been

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