Ian Brown, Environmental consultant and former national park manager (6 December 2019)
Note: an earlier version of this article first appeared in the Colong Bulletin no. 277, December 2019
As I write (on 6 December), fires in the north and south of the Blue Mountains are merging into mega-fires, driven by severe dryness, strong winds and parched air. Forty per cent of the million-hectare Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area has burnt so far. Millions of people are smothering in smoke. North-eastern NSW has already seen devastation. The NSW toll stands at six lives, more than 500 houses and over two million hectares. Already. Numerous wilderness areas and conservation reserves have been impacted, with many national parks burnt completely. Key koala populations have been decimated and ancient rainforests burnt (at least their edges and at ground level). There is no doubt this is the biggest fire season in the recorded (white) history of the state. And it will get worse before it rains.
Roger Lembit, Ecologist
The National Parks of the Blue Mountains, which form the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, have been the site of extensive and unprecedented bushfires, which have raised concern internationally about the status of these parks.
Alix Goodwin, CEO National Parks Association of NSW
Sydney Marine Park
On 16 August, the NSW Government released its draft plan to protect the Hawkesbury Shelf marine bioregion through the creation of a new marine park. The marine park, based on the Sydney Harbour National Park model, was to be made up of a network of 25 sites to be managed under three zones: sanctuary zones, new conservation zones and special purpose zones.
Janine Kitson, Vice President Colong Foundation for Wilderness
For over fifty years Henry Gold has been the NSW environment movement’s most eminent landscape photographer, providing spectacular images to support protection of threatened wilderness and natural areas across NSW and beyond.
An existential threat to NSW National Parks
David Hufton Member, National Parks Association of NSW and Committe Member, Colong Foundation
The NSW Government has decided to raise Warragamba Dam 14 metres for flood mitigation in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley at a cost of over $700 million. The EIS and final ministerial sign-off is due later this year, and we urgently need your help to stop it from happening.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Earlier this year, lightning peppered the Blue Mountains sparking about a year’s worth of bushfires in just one week. The remarkable skills, experience and sheer hard work of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) firefighters and their colleagues helped prevent these from becoming another of the infamous ‘black fire days’ that lace Australia’s history.