Less spring water following bushfires

ANOTHER concerning factor is developing in the alpine region.

Recently I have done two trips into the alpine environment, one on Thursday, May 9, from Licola to Aberfeldy and on Friday, May 10 into the Alpine National Park.

On both of these trips I noted with concern the quantity of water in sub-alpine springs and creeks was seriously tapering off, even though we had about 70mm of rain in February.

There is now such a thick blanket of regrowth competing for moisture that the rain is not soaking into the subsoil to feed the springs.

This is a well documented occurrence after a fire (Abbott et al 1993).

The concerning thing with the environment we now have developing, I think it is far worse than anything confronted before, like after 1939.

From my observations, the recent fires from 1998 onwards have been far hotter, cracking rocks.

There is little evidence has happened previously.

Ancient trees, possibly more than a thousand years old, have been killed.

The serious problems now looming is that the subsoil that was producing copious quantities of moisture in the mountains during summer when the fires were on, is now drying out in late autumn, even after some rain.

The prospects for the fire risks next summer, even if we get average winter rainfall, is looking more frightening as each month goes by.

We had seven days of marvellous cool burning weather, from May 6 to 12.

If we’d had the late Brian Sharp active, or someone else as competent, they could have safely flown around in a chopper burning out large tracts of land, considerably reducing the serious risks confronting us, the environment and water supplies.

The more I look at the Wellington camp sights in the Alpine National Park, the more frightening they become.

Any fire getting away from a camp site would nearly have to be contained in the first few minutes.

This environment is now intolerably dangerous during the summer fire danger period.

Any fire along the Wellington would likely be unfightable, possibly even too dangerous to go near.