Bushfire lesson

A water bomber works to contain the Cherry Gardens fire on Sunday evening as ground crews struggled to gain access to the fire front in dense bushland. Photo: Luke Shepherd, Meadows CFS. Photo: Josh Shepherd.

There’s a clear line along the Almanda Creek in the Scott Creek Conservation Park where the Cherry Gardens fire stopped.
Fires can be erratic and unpredictable, but the contrast between the way it burned along the rehabilitated Almanda Creek and the nearby weed-infested Scott Creek appears telling.
Conservationist John Wamsley has long advocated returning SA’s bushland to grassy woodland and he believes it was that habitat – which he and his team of volunteers have spent close to a decade restoring along Almanda Creek – which made the difference between the way the two creek lines burned.
With the fire destroying most vegetation – including invasive blackberries – along a 1km strip of Scott Creek, Dr Wamsley intends to grasp the opportunity to accelerate the restoration of that section to grassy woodland.
It’s a small positive to come out of the fire, but what could be equally beneficial are the lessons to be learned from the Almanda Creek project.
Returning more of SA’s bushland to grassy woodland is not the silver bullet in bushfire prevention but the fire’s behavior in this instance should be investigated further.

No live stream

Another opportunity for the Mt Barker Council to better connect with its residents has gone begging.
For the second time in a fortnight the council voted against implementing a live stream of its meetings on the internet.
The public response and dissatisfaction expressed since the first move was defeated at a council meeting two weeks ago has highlighted a demand for meetings to be available online.
Meetings will eventually be live streamed, but the current overly cautious approach from some elected members to embrace the digital age is bemusing.
Digital meetings promote accessibility and transparency and are fast becoming the norm – including in other local governments in the region.
But while the council delays the inevitable, it risks appearing to be an out of touch organisation which is not keen to open itself to further community scrutiny.