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Fire management at Brooklyn
Fire management at Brooklyn Sanctuary is relatively complex. This is due to the juxtaposition of ecosystems with different fire requirements and responses, the location of the main road from which unplanned fires are ignited and the location of settlements (Mt Carbine and Mary Farms) requiring protection from fire.
Prior to acquisition by AWC, there was little prescribed burning on Brooklyn. This resulted in a regime of occasional late dry season wildfires across large parts of sanctuary, while heavily grazed flats were rarely burnt, facilitating invasion by rubber vine. A lack of regular fire in tall eucalypt forests on the margins of rainforest led to woody thickening, invasion of rainforest plants and loss of the grassy ground cover.
AWC’s prescribed burning is delivered through a mix of aerial incendiary operations and ground-based burning. The objectives are to:
- re-establish a fine-scale mosaic of burnt and unburnt vegetation, of a range of ages since fire, across eucalypt forests and woodlands;
- restore a regular fire regime in the wet sclerophyll forests; and
- protect rainforests from hot fire.
Other objectives include protecting life and property and weed control.
- In 2017, around 6.4% of the property was burnt in prescribed operations. Only 1% was burnt in late season wildfire.
- The average distance from within a firescar to the nearest patch of unburnt vegetation has been reduced from a mean of 700 metres between 1999-2004, to 400 metres between 2005-2017.
- In 2013, AWC co-ordinated the design and delivery of an integrated regional fire management plan across an area of 600,000 hectares in the Upper Mitchell River Catchment region. Covering multiple tenures (pastoral, indigenous, conservation), this is the first program of its kind in Queensland.