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Almost half of NSW north coast timber lost to bushfires

Some of the damage in the Hurford plantations in NSW which are usually Blackbutt and or spotted gum

Between 40% and 50% of timber on the north coast of NSW has been lost to bushfires in November, and they are still burning. Some of those fires began in September and are still alight. Source: Timberbiz

“It’s pretty horrific,” Maree McCaskill from Timber NSW said. “It will be burning for months.

“Some of those fires started in September and all that’s happened is that with the catastrophic conditions a whole lot of them just blew up.”

Ms McCaskill said ForestCorp had lost pine plantations and native hardwood forest.

“The general supply is in dire straits at the moment,” she said.

“And the north coast is the major supplier of black butt and spotted gum so it’s looking really, really dire.

“Somewhere between 1.6 and 1.7 million hectares have been burnt.”

She said that nearly all of the fires had started in National Parks.

“National parks have a lock it up and leave principal so fuel loads were really high so once you have those catastrophic conditions they don’t stand a chance,” she said.

A spokesman for Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said there had been minimal if any impact on native timber areas from the fires.

The spokesman said that some plantation timber had also been burnt but did not know how much.

HQPlantations reported the fires had affected plantations at Jimna, Pechey and Esk.

“We are still monitoring or mopping up after severe fires in these locations and the safety of the general public continues to be our priority,” said HQPlantations Chief Operating Officer, Islay Robertson.

VicForests CEO Monique Dawson said there had been minimal impact on VicForests’ active coupes by fires in Victoria.

“Our main focus is to support the efforts to manage and contain the bushfires,” she said.