Bushfires Devastate Vital Koala Habitat
Recent bushfires over northern and north-east NSW, have been major news. The Mid North Coast, including the Port Macquarie area, has suffered badly, including the Port Macquarie area, and at time of going to print, it is feared that significant areas of our vital koala habitat may have been destroyed.
Late October saw the first major fire begin (ignited by lightning strike) in tinder-dry bushland bordering a residential road in Port Macquarie, and strong winds intensified the blaze a couple of days later. The Crestwood/LINR (Lake Innes Nature Reserve) fire gained momentum and travelled quickly south towards the coastal suburb of Lake Cathie. In the space of hours the fire was a terrifying inferno for firefighters and for residents whose homes lay in its path. To give some idea of the size and intensity of the blaze, smoke from the Crestwood/LINR (Lake Innes Nature Reserve) fire impacted Sydney for several days, even though the city is nearly 400 kilometres to the south of Port Macquarie.
Owing to incredible work by the men and women of the Rural Fire Service, working night and day to contain the fire, the fire was brought under control. Some terrible human tragedy has resulted from this fire, and in addition we believe the impact on wildlife, koalas in particular, has been catastrophic.
Within Lake Innes Nature Reserve, Lake Innes Conservation Area and the Innes Peninsula 3,000 hectares of pristine bushland has been devastated by fire, two thirds of which is regarded as core koala habitat and food trees. This area is vital to the genetic diversity and strength of the local koala population, providing an important sanctuary from human development and threats from cars, dogs and people in general. This koala population is of national significance.
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