About our seasonal war on bushfires.
Bushfires are increasing as our climate changes. Cities are expanding into bush areas, and more people wanting to live in the bush demand adequate protection. Too often, they are told to abandon their homes, with great losses occurring.
The National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) coordinates the lease of highly specialised firefighting aircrafts, including a few from overseas when available, but not in adequate numbers and neither NVG nor IFR capable. This vital equipment is needed to operate at night. Without it all aircraft and helicopters are grounded at night, allowing the fires to further develop and spread.
Erickson Aircranes helicopters with Night Vision capability and IFR qualified crews would require the approval by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to operate day and night (reply dated 11 March 2015).
We have been informed by the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) that only two Aircrane helicopters were available last year, and again this year. Last year, six Aircranes were used across Australia. It is not clear how many will be available this year outside Victoria. The NAFC has also advised that the Aircranes known as "Elvis" will not be available for use in Australia this year because they have been contracted to do some heavy lifting in South America.
The fire season in Victoria is starting earlier and lasting longer than it used to, with fire danger weather extending from October to March. By 2030, it has been estimated that the number of professional firefighters in Victoria will need to approximately double (compared to 2010) to keep pace with increased population, asset value and fire danger weather.
Deloitte Access Economics - Scoping Study on a cost Benefit Analysis of bushfire mitigation - May 2014. PDF
Aircranes equipped with special visual equipment and operating day and night without interruption would prevent the majority of fires from spreading out of control. Aircranes should be strategically located in each state and territories, possibly with a network of Drone aircrafts to detect any fires. The NVG operations should be managed by the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF), who could supply IFR qualified pilots. Aircrane maintenance costs and pilots training could be covered by the defence budget to reduce the expensive costs by states and territories as claimed by the Minister.
We must promote a petition with constituency support in each state and territory for an urgent review of bushfire control. We need donations to advertise our notices in newspapers. (Donations are tax deductible.) Can you help us?
For details on our progress Bushfire control - Review Submission.
For latest developments including Factsheet - click here
Sanctuary has 38 Projects that need your support!
A beautiful naturally developed hollow. Unfortunately there are not many left! There are no natural hollows on young trees! They have to be at least 100 years old to have natural hollows for wildlife to nest in. The Friends of Oolong have temporarily resolved this problem by stacking branches of woody weeds in small heaps. Birds, insects and other species nest and breed in them! See Project 31 on the Projects page.
A nocturnal bird peeks out of its hollow.
We are trying our best to restore the birds' habitat through the construction,
setting and monitoring of artificial nests. They are coming back but we need more volunteers to continue this program.See Project 13 on the Projects
Information for schools
Our fully illustrated inventory on Fauna and Flora is a major environmental
educational tool. Teachers and students in south-east NSW and the ACT can participate
in the development of our program and a syllabus on education in the environment. This involves putting students in direct contact with
our bush to develop awareness and concern for the environment. For details
go to Education IN The Environment.
Vermin's Patrolling and Trapping
Dr Tony Saunders, Our bird's specialist in his last visit in November 2009 noticed a decline in birds at the sanctuary. We have initiated an intense program of trapping with suitable baits to attract wild cats. They apparently enjoy smoked ham and cannot resist it! So far we have trapped ten wild cats just around our buildings: two very large (a male and a female) and others of several sizes. Wild cats as we trap them are delivered to the Shire Council office in Gunning from where the RSPSA officers collect them.
Support the Friends of Oolong.
We support Tempco and if you wish to know more about the group please click the logo.Tempco is one of our sponsors and will commission a donation to our association for all referred sales.
Wildlife Carers Group
The Box Gum Grassy Woodlands Project. The key objective of this Environmental Stewardship is to improve and maintain the quality and extent of endangered ecological communities: the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands. The remainder of Dalton Park, outside the sanctuary has been selected to be in this project the management of which extends over 15 years.
An Aquaponics system. This project on sustainability is set on 2 ha of the farm proper by our volunteers. Visitors will be welcome to see the operation which is a corollary to the other projects on private land at Dalton Park.
Control of serrated tussock.We have introduced a White Dorper sheep flock to test their capacity to control this weed.
Dalton Park Hatchery.
The Dalton Park landholder used to breed ostriches. To be able to support all Friends of Oolong projects he has set a hatchery managed by experts.To know more about it please link to:
How valuable is our bushland?
Dragon Fly and Pollution
Establishing Wildlife Corridors
Habitat/remnants as nature reserves
and crown roads as links on private land
"All over the world, human activity is destroying irreplaceable habitats
and causing a major crisis of species extinction. Human beings remain dependent on nature to cleanse, create and replenish air, water and
soil and to capture sunlight. We are biological creatures whose need for these services of nature cannot be replaced by economic or technological
activity. Therefore, at this critical stage in human development, we have to protect every ecosystem and species we possibly can if our children
and their children are to have the richness of health and opportunity
their forebearers had. Australia's unique landscape is under heavy attack and it's fragile ecosystems threatened as never before. Will Australians
think beyond the deadlines dictated by economic and political pressures
and opt for action that will sustain future generations? I believe they
will. I acknowledge the need for research towards the understanding of habitat/remnants linked by corridors and support the Oolong Sanctuary
programs and Friends of Oolong long-term committment to conservation."