>A ‘fuel management’ fire that was started by Forests NSW (Hazard
> Advisory FNSW to RFS 28 August) in
> compartments west of Gulaga Mountain, has jumped containment lines and
> ‘got away’ burning out of control up the mountain and continuing to
> burn down the eastern flank threatening the two Tilba villages.
> Previously communities had called for no burns on the mountain and
> requested Forests NSW to extinguish this fire. This fire had been burning
> for two weeks. Forests NSW ignored community concerns and the severe
> drought and weather conditions. Homes are threatened, sacred sites burned
> and rainforest decimated.
> Forests NSW “Southern Region Burning Proposals 2007” contains burn plan
> No. 07BAN3053 (the one that ‘got away’) further stating that the
> area’s last burn was in 1996, yet on the adjoining Burning Plan No.
> 07BAN3048 parts of the area were mapped as last burnt in 2000, 2001 and
> 2005. FNSW intended to burn 1,103 ha.
> The 850 hectare fire is burning in State forest and National Park on the
> south-western side of Mount Gulaga, three kilometres west of Tilba.
> The main fire is burning on the western and south western side of the
> mountain, being pushed by westerly winds.
> A spokesman Greg Potts says a long 'finger' of fire is burning slowly
> downhill in an easterly direction towards the Dromedary walking trail that
> is near private property.
> "That fire is burning down towards the private property on the eastern
> side," he said.
> "It still is totally inaccessible to fire crews so as it starts to get
> closer to the private property then we'll have patrolling units there
> Mr Potts says fire is also burning slowly downhill in a south easterly
> direction towards Dignams Creek. There are two spot fires causing concern,
> one on the northern end of Gulaga Mountain and the other on the south
> eastern side above Tilba. The fire is currently burning on all sides of
> the mountain.
> Residents were being urged to decide whether to stay and defend or leave
> early and to have their evacuation plan in place.
> At a town meeting held at the Central Tilba community building last night
> Julian Armstrong FNSW Burning Operations Unit Manager stated that Forests
> NSW started the prescribed burn in late July.
> “The fire was kept going because the area was too inaccessible, once it
> got to 450 ha it was too big to water bomb.”
> “FNSW initially lit couple of hundred hectares,” he said.
> Fergus Thompson chaired the meeting and was noted to have stifled
> information and debate on how the fires began.
> “Neighbours were not notified prior to the burns commencement,” said
> concerned resident Judy Beggs. “My life and livelihood are in danger
> because of Forests NSW incompetence.”
> Smoke has affected residents at Dignams Creek, Akolele, Wallaga Lake,
> Bermagui and Bega 70kms away.
> “FNSW administrative breaches have resulted in damaging consequences,”
> said South East Forest Rescue spokesperson Tony Whan. “But as is plainly
> shown in the Draft Report documentation for the current Regional Forest
> Agreement review process, FNSW threw out the concept of ecologically
> sustainable forest management many years ago.”
> Mr Potts said the cause of the fire and how it broke containment lines was
> under investigation.
> Fire activity yesterday and over night saw extensive spotting over the
> summit, resulting in several small spot fires, which are now burning in
> inaccessible terrain in the Gulaga National Park and Bodalla State Forest
> The community is stridently calling for a judicial inquiry into the
> incident and Forests NSW mismanagement, maladministration and criminal
> neglect of the events.
> For more information contact SEFR on 0437471763