Clearfell Logging in the Otway Forested Catchments - Water Yield and Water Quality Issues Otway Ranges Environment Network
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Fire Occurrence in Otway Catchments

  • The Otways has the highest rainfall in Victoria which promotes the growth of WET FORESTS THAT DO NOT BURN EASILY

  • Before European settlement the natural fire occurrence in the wet forests of the Otways was once every 300-500 years. In parts of the Otways where rainforest grows, it is so wet that fire never occurs

  • Colac’s water catchment Olangolah was last burnt on February 6, 1851. For the past 150 years this catchment has been closed to logging and now produces large quantities of high quality water

  • Warrnambool’s water catchment Arkins Creek was closed to logging in the 1930’s and has not had a fire since 1919

  • Geelong’s water catchment (West Barwon) was partially burnt in the 1919 and 1939 bushfires. Much of the catchment is old growth forest

  • Apollo Bay’s water catchment contains forest ranging from old growth to 1890s and 1919 - 1926 wildfire regrowth

Research by Sinclair Knight Merz(2000) found major fires are a naturally infrequent event in the wet forests that occupy water catchments in the Otways.

5.2 Fire History in the Otways

" In general the forests have a low to medium level of fire activity punctuated by large fires that occur under severe fire weather conditions (Harrison and Wouters, 1995)."

Source: SKM page 73

5.4 Conclusions

"Although infrequent severe wildfires have been a feature of the Otway forests, the present fire management plans and strategies are professional, thorough and appropriate."

Source: SKM, Page 74

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