Eco burn scheduled for Meadowridge Common

An controlled ecological burn is planned for Meadowridge Common.

Meadowridge Common is among 12 conservation areas due for controlled burns by the City’s biodiversity management branch in February and March.

The actual dates are dependent on weather conditions.

Friends of Tokai Park chairman and ecologist Dr Tony Rebelo said the burns were vital for the preservation of natural vegetation and the conditions needed to be just right: 32ºC at 30% humidity.

Roger Graham, of the Friends of Meadowridge Common, said they had been waiting for the burn for almost two years. It had been planned for early 2020, but a resident near the common had threatened to take the City to court over it. The burn had been postponed again last year due to objections from the same resident as well as Level 5 lockdown and unusually heavy rainfall in March.

The common’s seed bank, which the burn could stimulate into growth, became less viable the longer the area went without a burn, he said.

“It will only happen if there is little to no wind and the wind, if any, is blowing away from neighbouring houses,” said Mr Graham.

Mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment Eddie Andrews said the objection related to perceived health risks associated with smoke and ash, but the burn would only take place on a day with a north-westerly wind that would blow smoke away from most of the homes in the area.

“We will monitor the burn area for flare-ups in the 48-hours after the burn, and post-fire restoration is planned as well. Carefully managed burns are necessary to obtain maximum species diversity,” he said.

According to Mr Andrew, fire provides the cues of smoke and heat that many of our unique plant species require to germinate. While frequent fires can lead to a decline in slow-growing species and reduced seed production, infrequent fires, that is with an interval of more than 20 years, can lead to bush encroachment and the local extinction of species. Burning old vegetation also reduces the risk of wild fires.

The burn would involve the City’s environmental management department, the Fire and Rescue Service as well as Working on Fire and Volunteer Wildfire Services, said Mr Andrews.

You can find out more about the burn at meadowridgecommon.blogspot.com