Just over a year ago, our local community narrowly escaped the onslaught of a devastating bushfire that burnt over 2,850 hectares of bushland in the area. In my post shortly afterwards, I wrote my personal account of an event I have never experienced before, nor wish to again.
[One of the photos I took in October 2013 in the immediate aftermath of the bushfire]
So, what has changed 12 months on? The Big Prawn on the Pacific Highway has not been rebuilt, and, given its rather odd location, I wonder whether the site will ever be redeveloped. But the bushland is beautiful once again. The first new shoots emerged from the ashy ground just a couple of weeks after the fire, and a colourful array of green and gold has gradually spread through the trees and undergrowth. Yes, there are still reminders of flames in the charred tree trunks, but overall it has been a fascinating example of nature’s ability to regenerate in record time.
In fact, fire has very positive consequences for the Australian bush. Eucalypts release their seeds in the intense heat of the flames; wattle seeds that have lain dormant in the soil burst open; and the bed of ash left behind is full of vital nutrients to allow strong new growth. And these are just a few examples. Little wonder then that the Aboriginals used fire as a tool to revitalise the bush environment.
This Factsheet is a great source of information on the impact of fire on Australian bushland regeneration.