Burnoff continues today in coastal town
PRESCRIBED burns continue at Byron Bay today.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service are in charge of the fire near Paterson Street, 1.5km from the town centre.
NPWS Team Leader Jenny Atkins said the ecological burns in Arakwal National Park are planned to protect the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath.
"The Clay Heath is home to threatened species such the Byron Bay Donkey orchid and the Dwarf Heath Casuarina which are only found in this vegetation community,” Ms Atkins said.
"Fire is essential for the long-term survival of the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath and keeping country healthy and safe for the future.
"Many of species in the Clay Heath need fire to stimulate seed release, new growth and complete their life cycle.
"Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath consists of low-growing (to 50 cm tall) woody shrubs, grasses and grass-like plants with patches of taller shrubs.
"It is classified as an Endangered Ecological Community protected under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 and more than 60 per cent of the EEC is located within Arakwal National Park.
"Our Restoration Management Plan for the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath guides our program when caring for this important part of country and so far, we have undertaken weed control, track works and removal of encroaching native vegetation in the Clay Heath over the last few years.
"When the burn is undertaken the walking tracks within Arakwal National Park at Pacific Vista Drive, Milne Street and Paterson Street Lookout will be closed.
"The burn will be done with assistance from NSW Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service.
"Pedestrian and vehicle control will be in place as part of Paterson Street, Milne Street and Pacific Vista Drive will have traffic control in place during the burn operation,” Ms Atkins said.
Byron Shire Council advised residents near the Paterson Hill area should:
- Close windows to minimise the impact of smoke and remove clothing from the clothes line
- If driving in the area - slow down and following directions on nearby roads as smoke may reduce visibility
- Protect or remove items that may be affected by embers or smoke (e.g. outdoor furniture, pool covers, plastic items, plants, watering systems, pets, etc).
For public safety access to Ruskin Street and Paterson Street will be restricted during burn operations from 8.30am-5pm.
Fire authorities will monitor the fire ground until the areas are declared safe.
The council said as well as conserving heath, the burn was being undertaken to reduce the fuel load and provide for asset protection from potential wildfire that could occur in the ensuing fire season.
They said there was conclusive evidence, both nationally and internationally, that reducing fuel loads lessens the impact bushfires would otherwise have on assets and the community.