Tackling the ‘wildfire gateway’

Malmsbury Common has long been regarded as a neglected piece of land.
Large areas of gorse, non-native grasses and a northerly aspect effectively made it the town’s high-risk ‘wildfire gateway’.
The repatriation of the common has been a long-term project championed by the local landcare group and in recent times Macedon Ranges Council has added its support with practical funding and the development of a master plan for the site.
Ahead of the next phase of works, council carried out a low-impact burn on Saturday to remove the non-indigenous grass and weed ecotypes and introduced ‘pest’ vegetation.
Working with Malmsbury CFA and local environment specialists, including some post graduate students, the managed burn off was also closely monitored by a network of ground temperature sensors placed across the site. Data from these sensors will also be used to plan future burning activities across the shire.
According to council’s project manager Martin Roberts, the objective was to use the low heat of the fire to excise the non-indigenous plants and their seeds.
It is expected that the native grasses will quickly re-establish over the winter months.
The techniques used to conduct the burn reduce risks normally associated with high-intensity hazard reduction programs, but still provide effective management of fire risks.

Working with Malmsbury CFA and local environment specialists, Macedon Ranges Council carried out a low-impact burn at the Malmsbury Common on Saturday. Photo: ietsystems.com.au

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