Managing bushfire risk at Dolphin Sands
The Dolphin Sands Ratepayers Association is a member of Landcare Tasmania, representing the residents and ratepayers of the fragile sand spit bordered by Moulting Lagoon to the north and Nine Mile Beach to the south. Their aim is to help residents be bushfire-ready by removing some of the highly flammable introduced species and replacing with low-flammability natives.
In April this year, a bushfire destroyed 128 hectares of vegetation in the Dolphin Sands area, leaving the fragile dune system vulnerable to further damage. The community is in a drought declared area, and with the ongoing dry conditions, members of the Association wanted vegetation cleared and mulched well before the next fire season.
Given several of the recent fires in the area, including the April fire, were hazard reduction burns that ‘escaped’, residents were seeking viable alternative to burning green waste, thereby mitigating the risk of burns 'escaping'.
They worked with the local council and emergency services groups to coordinate a series of working bees throughout Winter to reduce the fuel-load in the 25m 'defendable zone' around dwellings and beside driveways.
The Association received a $9,900 Tackling Tough Times Together grant, funded by Westpac Group, to pay for a commercial mulcher and its crew to work through the stacks of vegetation removed during the working bees, and, once mulched, transported it to areas recently affected by fire.
In total 15 truck loads of mulch (about 150 tonnes) were removed from 56 properties, which are now better prepared for the coming bushfire season.