Developing a Community Fire Monitoring Kit
Thursday, 8th November 2012
Dr Phil Borchard, the NSW RFS Hotspots Facilitator for the Shoalhaven region southern NSW is undertaking a community fire monitoring project with landholders to provide them with the tools to undertake ecological monitoring on their own properties.
Building on the skills gained at the Hotspots workshops landholders are learning how to undertake fuel load assessments, monitor vegetation recovery and animal activity post hazard reduction burns and wildfire events.
Working with groups of landholders on areas targeted for hazard reduction burning Phil Borchard is training and assisting landholders to implement basic vegetation, fauna and fuel load monitoring assessments before and after prescribed burning. As part of the monitoring kit, landholders are using motion activated cameras (camera traps) to discover which animals are active on their land and gaining practical insights into how land management practices can maintain or improve biodiversity values and reduce fire risk.
These emerging techniques are consistent with what other landholders and community groups are using around the world. Outcomes of the project will improve our understanding of vegetation recovery and biodiversity, fuel load reaccumulation and animal activity. This will in turn inform management planning decisions. Importantly we hope that this monitoring and training will empower communities in fire management starting at individual property ownership and fire management planning. Already Hotspots participants are finding camera traps a great way of increasing pride and ownership of unique species that are found on their land.
To learn more about this project contact Phil Borchard on Phil.Borchard@rfs.nsw.gov.au