Fire and parks

Ranger Deb Cross at Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan

Ranger Deb Cross at Gil Groggin Fire north of Buchan

Fire, both as a natural event and its use by Aboriginal people has been a part of the Australian environment for thousands of years. It has shaped our plants and animals into the unique ecosystems we have today; its effects in many areas of Victoria are important for the health of our plants and animals. But is it good or Bad?

Well – it can depend. Most major parks in Victoria require periodic fire to ensure the survival of certain plants and animals. A number of native plants and animals have developed specific ways of surviving fire, in fact many including plants such as banksias and grass trees rely on fire to regenerate seeds and survive.

Prescribed Burning

Today the term ‘prescribed burning’ refers to the use of fire to achieve planned land and resource management objectives. Depending on the environment type, some parks need more frequent fire than others.
There are two main reasons that Parks Victoria and the Department of Sustainability conduct prescribed burns in Victoria’s parks:

  • Fuel management – to reduce the risk and intensity of bushfires in areas surrounding towns and important assets.
  • Flora and fauna management – to maintain species diversity and encourage fire dependant species like banksias and Grass Trees to regenerate.

Prescribed burns are usually conducted in autumn or spring when the weather is milder. Keep an eye out when you’re travelling around at this time of year for the large plumes of smoke coming from the burns.