Note

This information portal has been created to gather information, tools and resources, summarise regional NRM responses, provide updates and share stories from across our bushfire affected communities. It will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
If you have any bushfire related resources to contribute, please get in touch with us via our social media channels (facebook or twitter).

To date, over 10 million hectares have been affected by the 2019-20 summer bushfires that have been raging across our nation. Early reports suggest the severe and devastating impacts to our wildlife, wilderness areas, agricultural industry and communities will be felt for many years to come and that recovery will require a massive collaborative effort from a multitude of stakeholders.

RESOURCES

Livestock & Pasture

POST-FIRE LAND, LIVESTOCK AND PASTURE CARE – Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty

LIVESTOCK ADVICE DURING BUSHFIRES – LLS NSW (Video)

PASTURE RECOVERY AFTER BUSHFIRES – DPI NSW

TECHNICAL RESOURCE MANUAL FOR FARM FIRE RECOVERY – SARDI

TIPS & TOOLS FOR FIRE RECOVERY – Meat & Livestock Australia

PASTURE RECOVERY AFTER A FIRE  – Agriculture Victoria

NATIVE PASTURE RECOVERY POST-BUSHFIRE – Barossa Improved Grazing Group

LIVESTOCK MANAGEMENT – PIRSA

ANIMALS & BUSHFIRE PLANNING – DPIPWE (TAS)

ANIMALS & BUSHFIRE – DPIPWE (TAS)

ANIMAL WELFARE DURING BUSHFIRES – DPIPWE (TAS)

​​HORSES & LIVESTOCK IN EMERGENCIES – Agriculture Victoria​

PLANNING FOR EMERGENCIES – A guide for animal holding establishments, Department of Primary Industries NSW

PREPARE YOUR HORSE FOR BUSHFIRE – NSW Rural Fire Service

ADVICE FOR HAYSTACK FIRES – Victorian Farmers Federation

CONTAINMENT FEEDING OF STOCK – Sheep Connect South Australia

FEEDING & WATERING LIVESTOCK AFTER A FIRE – DPIPWE (TAS)

FAQ ACCESSING FODDER IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS – DPIPWE (TAS)

WATER SUPPLY FOR STOCK CONTAINMENT AREAS – Agriculture Victoria

FEEDING PELLETS TO LIVESTOCK AFTER A FIRE – DPIPWE (TAS)

FIRE AFFECTED LIVESTOCK, ONGOING CARE – DPIPWE (TAS)

ASSESSING BUSHFIRE BURNS IN LIVESTOCK – NSW Department of Primary Industries

ASSESSING CATTLE AFTER A BUSHFIRE – Agriculture Victoria

ASSESSING SHEEP AFTER A BUSHFIRE – Agriculture Victoria

EMERGENCY SLAUGHTER OF LIVESTOCK – DPIPWE (TAS)

​EMERGENCY BURIAL OF CARCASSES – DPIPWE (TAS)

UPDATES

Estimates in excess of the loss of a billion animals have been reported widely in the media, and it is anticipated that many species may have become locally extinct, or pushed closer to extinction by these events. While the scale of the loss of species and habitat may not be fully known, and it is still to early to assess many areas, recovery programs will call on the support of NRM bodies, alongside multiple stakeholders.

Hundreds of thousands of hectares of productive forests and agricultural land has also been burnt, there are over 46,000 lost livestock, and many wine grape and horticulture crops in cool climates have been destroyed or tainted. More than 4,600 beehives have been destroyed with a further 23,000 suffering significant losses. The capacity of the agriculture sector to respond and recover from the bushfires has been compromised by ongoing drought conditions across Australia.

28 January – Science and Threatened Species Roundtable: Led by The Hon. Minister Sussan Ley,leading environmental and ecological scientists canvassed strategies on wildlife and habitat recovery in response to the summer’s bushfire crisis.

17 January – Bushfire Roundtable on Agriculture: Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack, Agriculture Minister Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie and Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management the Hon David Littleproud, met with agricultural industry leaders to discuss the impact of the bushfires and response and recovery. Industry representatives highlighted the upcoming key risks and shared ideas on assistance for the successful recovery of their industries in the fire-affected regions.

15 January – Bushfire Recovery Roundtables: Led by The Hon. Minister Sussan Ley, the first of two roundtables was held on January 15 for conservation groups and NGOs. On January 20, a second roundtable was held that bought together experts in land management, indigenous cultural burning, bush regeneration, marine ecosystems and farming from across Australia came together to discuss ecosystem restoration. NRM Regions were present at both sessions.

14 January – Emergency funding announced: Federal Government announces $100 million in emergency bushfire funding for farm, fish and forestry businesses in fire-affected regions, including the $75,000 grants, off-farm income exemptions and $15 million to fund 60 additional rural financial counsellors and support workers.

13 January – Bushfire recovery package for wildlife and their habitat: The Australian Government made an initial commitment of $50 million for emergency wildlife and habitat recovery. This is a down-payment to support immediate work to protect wildlife, and work with scientists, ecologists, communities and land managers to plan the longer-term protection and restoration effort. $25 million will be provided for an emergency intervention fund to help with the immediate survival of affected animals, plants and ecological communities and to control pests and weeds. A further $25 million will be made available to support wildlife rescue, our zoos, NRM groups, Greening Australia and Conservation Volunteers Australia with on-ground activities.

6 January – National Bushfire Recovery Agency announced The National Bushfire Recovery Agency has been announced  to lead and coordinate a national response to rebuilding communities affected by bushfires across large parts of Australia. The agency will oversee a National Bushfire Recovery Fund which will support all recovery efforts across Australia over the next two years. An initial $2 billion has been allocated to this fund. National Bushfire Recovery Website.

BUSHFIRE NEWS – Scroll through the slider below for updates

Kangaroo Island

Over 211,690 hectares with a perimeter of 496 km has burned on the island, taking with it stock, bushland and many of the islands wildlife.

  • The ongoing survival of glossy black-cockatoo on Kangaroo Island is under threat. The extent of fire damage to black cockatoo habitat has been severe, with burned areas known to contain 59% of all known glossy black-cockatoo feeding habitat that was used by about 75% of the population, 74% of all known nests and 93 artificial nest boxes. Funding for new artificial nesting boxes and for planting more feeding trees will be crucial with the approach of the species’ breeding season.
  • Southern brown bandicoots and dunnarts have been detected on small unburnt patches on KI. Unfortunately feral cats are also now hunting in these areas. Land for Wildlife workers are using all cat control techniques available, but the only way to protect these patches is through emergency feral cat exclusion fencing.

Western Ground Parrot

Severe fires in WA’s Cape Arid NP have reduced habitat for the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot to only 15,000 hectares. This bird’s preferred habitat has suffered three severe fires since 2015. The wild population of this species was sitting at a perilously low 150 individuals prior to the latest fire of December 20, which was caused by lightning, sparking blazes that swept through Cape Arid National Park and nearby Nuytsland Nature Reserve. It razed close to 40,000ha.

LINKS:

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/science/bushfires-desperate-battle-to-save-western-ground-parrot/news-story/c6ed2bb12f1d457bdafcee8e837772fa

Feral Animal Control

Part of the recovery process will need to involve feral animals and invasive weeds. According to the Invasive Species Council, “Hard-hooved feral animals such as horses, deer and pigs will feast on the green shoots of native plants and seedlings, severely undermining the ability of the Australian bush to recover naturally. These large, heavy animals will take scarce feed from kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots and wombats.”

Hard-hooved feral animals such as horses, deer and pigs will feast on the green shoots of native plants and seedlings, severely undermining the ability of the Australian bush to recover naturally. These large, heavy animals will take scarce feed from kangaroos, wallabies, bandicoots and wombats.

Rehydrating landscapes to prevent fire

The leaders of a project to rehydrate the landscape of a north Queensland cattle property say the results are proof that profits can flow from keeping more scarce rainfall on-farm. Since 2015, a project to rehydrate Worona Station with assistance from NRM group NQ Dry Tropics and the consultancy arm of the Mulloon Institute has rehabilitated the country. Profitability has increased, with the comparatively small 6,677-hectare northern operation now providing full-time stable employment for the owner and his son. For more information, head to https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2020-01-07/landscape-rehydration-better-than-dams-in-improving-production/11834394

ALA Environment Recovery Project

Over 46,000,000 acres has burnt so far in the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season in eastern Australia, including South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. Understanding how the environment recovers from this unprecedented fire season is an important scientific goal.

Atlas of Living Australia have launched a citizen scientist projects and are asking for observations from recently burnt areas. Providing it’s safe to do so, take a walk in areas of burnt bushland, and upload observations to the Environment Recovery Project. For more information, visit: https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/projects/environment-recovery-project-australian-bushfires-2019-2020