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Managing native vegetation on-farm after a bush fire

Following recent bush fires that devastated both farms and public land around Tingha, Jennings to Sandy Hills, Drake and Tabulam in the Northern Tablelands region, many landholders are now asking how to manage native vegetation on their fire-damaged properties.

If there is an imminent risk of injury or damage to property landholders can clear native vegetation, including trees. Clearing should be undertaken to the minimum extent necessary.

Any timber that has fallen and is on the ground can be removed and a tree that is still standing may be removed if there is an imminent risk of serious personal injury or damage to property. Lopping parts of the tree damaged by the fire is also permitted.

A tree that is burnt but alive and does not pose an imminent risk is subject to the usual land management rules.

Landholders are encouraged not to clear ‘dead’ trees until they are sure the trees will not naturally regenerate. This can take a few months, depending on weather conditions. Most native vegetation is well adapted to survive fire, especially mature Eucalypt species.

Local Land Services Sustainable Land Management Northern Team Leader, Andrew Davidson, says in his experience farmers know their own country and local landscapes better than anyone and genuinely want to do the right thing.

“Around Tingha for example, Cypress pine is the dominant tree species. Any burnt Cypress pines can be pushed over but it is better to wait a few months if you can, until the roots die. You will know by then whether the Eucalypts are going to come back because they will have started to shoot,” said Andrew.

If a dead tree is on vulnerable regulated land (e.g. on a steep slope or on land adjacent to a river or creek) approval may be required to remove it and you should seek advice from your nearest Local Land Services office.

If you need to clear native vegetation that has not been burnt to access burnt vegetation or you need to clear fire impacted fence lines on your property, you can clear tracks to the minimum extent necessary without needing approval.

In the Northern Tablelands this minimum extent is a distance of no more than 30 metres total width. If the track is on vulnerable regulated land (steep or riparian areas) the maximum width of clearing is six metres.

For advice or to arrange a property visit to help you make the right decision please contact Northern Tablelands Local Land Services on 02 6732 8800 or call into your nearest office in Inverell, Glen Innes, Armidale or Tenterfield. Visit the Local Land Services website for additional factsheets about the land management framework.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326