Following the recent fires in South Australia, a number of South Australian National Parks and Conservation Parks have been severely impacted.
An estimated 450 bushfires engulfed parts of South Australia during the January heatwave, burning more than 445,000 hectares, as well as destroying livestock, and at least 15 homes and about 24 sheds. About 200 farms were affected which included lost machinery and fencing. More than 1,700 livestock perished during the fires. The total damage bill is estimated to be about $10 million. And the loss to flora and fauna is unmeasurable.
Billiatt Conservation Park has been totally decimated. It is literally ‘gone’. The status of the Billiatt fire is listed on the CFS website as ‘Controlled’. It is reported that the fire ‘continues to burn with control lines’. The fire has been burning since Wednesday 15th January, 2014. The park is closed until further notice. Two homes have been destroyed in this fire.
Billiatt CP has gone from this (photo taken during my activation at the park in September, 2013)……………
Below is a CFS map of the Billiatt fire. I have placed a red line indicating the Billiatt CP boundaries. As you can see the park is no more !
Map courtesy of the CFS.
The nearby Ngarkat Conservation Park has also been significantly affected by fire. The fire which was started after a light strike, has burnt out an area of more than 90,000 hectares. The park is closed until further notice.
Photo courtesy of 7 News Adelaide
Below is a CFS map of the Ngarkat fire (dated 18/1/2014 – cannot get a more recent one). I have placed a red line roughly indicating the Ngarkat CP boundaries. As you can see, more than 1/3 of the park has been destroyed.
Map courtesy of the CFS.
Both Billiatt and Ngarkat Conservation Parks have been identified by BirdLife International due to their importance for the conservation of numerous rare and endangered species of mallee birds. They are also the home of various endangered animals including the Western Pygmy possum. Not too sure how many are left after these fires ? Trees for Life are reporting ‘shelter for fauna is gone, shade and food now elusive, fauna losses extensive’.
I activated both Billiatt and Ngarkat in September last year, and it is incredibly sad to see the state that they are in at the moment.
The following parks have also been affected by the recent fires…..
- Gawler Ranges National Park
- Mount Remarkable National Park
- The Katarapko section of the Murray River National Park
- Telowie Gorge Conservation Park
- Yellabinna Conservation Park
- Yumbarra Conservation Park
- Gum Lagoon Conservation Park.
In conjunction with Ivan VK5HS, I am currently working on a possible fund raiser / raffle, where money raised would go to Trees for Life. Once I finalise this, I will let everyone know. There will also be future tree planting days, which amateurs may want to get involved in.
Click on the link below to have a listen to local farmers Chris Bullen and Robyn Verrall who have a farm on the border of the Ngarkat Conservation Park.
Country Fire Service website, viewed 1st February 2014, http://www.cfs.sa.gov.au
DEWNR website, viewed 1st February 2014, http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Home
ABC, viewed 1st February, 2014, http://www.abc.net.au