NSW Independent MP and South Coast resident Justin Field has backed calls by the South Durras community for Forestry Corporation to cleanup logging slash in the Benandarah State Forest.
Mr Field visited the area on Wednesday with members of the Friends of Durras group.
Mr Field said, “Some of these slash piles are head high. It’s madness that Forestry Corporation has been allowed to leave this on the ground; It’s a massive fire risk. Earlier this week the NSW RFS warned that although “wet weather had allowed firefights to “clear their heads”....”the rain did not mean the fire season was over.”
Mr Field said, “I’m shocked this has been allowed right alongside the Princess Highway and adjacent to two local fuel stations. If this slash lights up it risks a fire jumping the highway into the Murramarang National Park and running all the way to the South Durras community.”
“This is one of the last areas of unburnt National Park in the region and a critical refuge for native animals. It is essential that all actions are taken to reduce the risk of fires getting into these unburnt areas and this is the most obvious fire risk.
The visit followed a community meeting in South Durras last week that called on Forestry Corporation and the NSW Government to take action to reduce the fuel in the forest. Analysis by the Friends of Durras group has estimated slash loads at up to 100 tonnes per hectare. Mr Field said, “I back the calls of the community. The RFS has warned the fire risk isn’t over. The RFS internal maps even note warnings that these areas have high fuel loads. Forestry Corporation needs to take action.
Mr Field also called out the role of logging activities in creating or exacerbating fire risk across the region. “I think we need to look critically at how active logging has affected fire risk and the spread of fires across the region. We know the Currowan Fire started in an active forestry coup in the Currowan State Forest. We need to look at how logging close to critical road infrastructure, population centres and National Parks is changing fire behaviours and the risks of fires starting and spreading.
Images include Justin Field MLC, Alec Marr (Friends of Durras) and John Perkins (Friends of Durras)