Managing fire risk at Pyalong Recreation Reserve

Pictured: Mitchell Shire Mayor Bill Chisholm and Pyalong Recreation Reserve committee of management president Kate Brown inspect the works to clean up the pine trees.

Important fire prevention works have been completed by Mitchell Shire Council at Pyalong Recreation Reserve.

There is a substantial plantation of mature pine trees located along West Road and Northern Highway frontage of the Pyalong Recreation Reserve. There are also a small number of Indigenous trees throughout the plantation.

Residential housing and the Pyalong Primary School are located across from the reserve on West Road, with the Pyalong township spread to the south and east of the reserve.

Some members of the Pyalong community expressed concerns about bushfire risk with the reserve’s proximity to the school and houses, and its status as a Neighbourhood Safer Place – Bushfire Place of Last Resort.

Council convened an internal working group to investigate the bushfire risk and the associated costs for mitigation.

A CFA fire risk assessment concluded that the risk from the plantation was low and that reducing ground-level fuel would mitigate the low risk.

In 2021, residents were asked for input on three options – full removal of nearly 300 trees; ground level fuel reduction and removal of pine tree branches; and no action.

Option two was endorsed following consultation and Council has now completed the works with the removal of ground fuel under the pines and removal of pine tree branches up to two metres from ground level.

An arborist assessment and management plan has been completed for the 291 trees and there will be ongoing works to manage fuel levels and weeds.

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