Daily archives: 28th March 2013

Learning from the recent Shoalhaven fires

RFS Media Release

A major research program will begin in the Shoalhaven on 2 April, with researchers spending four days in the area to learn from experience of locals who lived through the recent fires.


The NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has engaged the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre to conduct the work, which will focus on people’s preparation, decision making and actions during the fire.

“During January we saw fire danger like we’ve never seen before, with the Shoalhaven experiencing some of the worst conditions and one of the most significant fires,” Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

“The Deans Gap fire, which started on Monday 7 January, and spread under catastrophic conditions, eventually burnt for more than two weeks and damaged more than 9,300 hectares of mostly national parkland.

“A fire like this presents an opportunity to take a close look at what people did before, during and after the blaze. We are asking people to share their experiences of the fire, as this information will help us to better understand people’s actions and ensure lessons are learned.

“If a researcher comes to your door, and you have the time, we ask that the people of the Shoalhaven, help us gather this important information,” said Commissioner Fitzsimmons.

Burnt out bush

An online survey is also being conducted to capture the experiences of visitors to the area.

Bushfire CRC CEO Gary Morgan said the research was of national significance and follows similar research projects in Coonabarabran, where 53 homes were destroyed, and Yass, which caused extensive livestock losses.

“The data gathered will inform not just the people of New South Wales and the NSW RFS, but communities and fire agencies across Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Morgan said.

“The NSW RFS has been in regular touch with the Bushfire CRC since the January bush fires, to seek the expertise of the Bushfire CRC in gathering data on the ground to inform this important work.

“The vital research that follows major fires is only possible through the national approach taken by the Bushfire CRC. This collaboration was not available 10 years ago, before the Bushfire CRC was formed,” said Mr Morgan.

Affected residents or visitors to the area can register their interest in taking part in the research by emailing  or calling 0404 463 612.


Council encourages local residents to remove environmental weeds

Senna in flower
Shoalhaven City Council is encouraging local residents to identify and remove the environmental weed, Cassia from local properties.

Originating from South America, Cassia (Senna pendula) was originally brought to Australia as an ornamental horticultural plant.

Local residents will recognise the weed from its bright yellow buttercup flowers which are currently in bloom. Cassia thrives in all conditions and can be found along the area’s beaches, creeks and roadsides.

Mayor, Joanna Gash said Cassia was an incredibly invasive weed, out competing many of the area’s native plants for nutrients and sunlight.

“While the flowers may appear quite alluring, make no mistake, Cassia is a serious environmental weed that needs to be eradicated from the Shoalhaven,” said Clr Gash.

“Many of the area’s 65 Bushcare Groups already spend countless hours controlling and removing this invasive plant from our bushland reserves, however more needs to be done.

“Council is calling on the local community to identify and remove any outbreaks of Cassia from within private property.”

“Small plants, under knee high, are able to be removed by simply pulling out the shrub from the roots while larger weeds may need to be sawn or cut at the base of the trunk and the stump painted with a small amount of undiluted Glyphosate.”

“Left unattended, Cassia will continue to reduce biodiversity in our natural bushland by outcompeting our native plants and creating an unwanted mono-culture.”

Mayor Gash said any local residents looking for more information on Cassia or any other serious weeds can use the resources found on Council’s website  

or by downloading a copy of  Grow Me Instead 

Residents wanting a hard copy of the Grow Me Instead Booklet can phone Council on 4429 3111 or email
 to receive a copy.

CONTACT: Mayor, Joanna Gash – 0427 160 172