Fire on Cooleman Ridge, Saturday 18th January 2003

The pictures below show Cooleman Ridge before and after the fires, and the new growth brought on by the rains. Those in the second row were taken on 1st February, those in the third row in May 2003. Photo copyright: K. Pelling

 
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Top: November 2001 - walking down the hill (dam to right).
2nd row: After the fire - a tree is down (see far right photo)
3rd row: Rains bring on the weeds, especially Paterson's Curse.
Top: November 2001 - a picturesque setting.
2nd row: Ducks were seen on this dam in the days after the fire.
3rd row: Water quality is poor, but ducks still come to the dam.
Top: November 2001 - dam, with road winding up hill.
2nd row: A tree felled by wind and fire lies in front of the dam.
3rd row: New weeds grew from seed scattered for any survivors to eat.
 
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Top: June 2002 - snowing on the mountains.
2nd row: Same tree; a smoky haze this time.
Top: October 2002 - storm clouds approach.
2nd row: The same view after the fire.
Top: October 2002 - storms over distant hills.
2nd row: A much drier, burnt landscape.

More photographs

The pictures below show Cooleman Ridge in February 2003 after the fires, and the new green growth in June 2003. Photo copyright: R. Vallak

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Regrowth on Cooleman Ridge, March 2003

The pictures below show some of the regrowth on Cooleman Ridge since the January fires. Photo copyright: K. Pelling

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Webmaster's Note

Photographs

Some photos belonging to members have been destroyed in the fire. If you can donate photos to be included in the group's archives, please contact us. Our members collect data and photos about the Ridge's vegetation for scientific purposes. We plan to scan all photos and burn them to a CD, keeping a backup copy in a different location to the originals.

Regeneration

We have been very excited by the regrowth of some of the flora and the appearance of certain natives in sections where they weren't seen before. Most are small, however, and you need to know what you are looking for to see them. To the untrained eye the Ridge is just a large expanse of exotic grasses, but underneath are hidden treasures. Did you notice the pictures of ferns on this site? They are native to the area and are used in the group's logo. They have come back strongly. Lomandras (at first glance a bit like grass) grew in large numbers last summer. Cooleman Ridge is suffering more from the drought than from the fires, which caused some loss of trees but benefitted other plants.

New members are always welcome. The area will recover in time: if you want to help us help it along, please contact us. You may not, for instance, know that we were beginning to plant native grasses on the Ridge: these are better than pasture grasses in a fire, as they tend to stay greener near the ground, reducing the fuel load available to the fire. Off-the-top-of-the-head estimates suggested it would take 50-100 years to replace all the grasses with the few resources we have - all the more reason to start now!

More information

If you'd like to know more about Cooleman Ridge Park Care Group or join up, please contact us at the following email address: ryan@pcug.org.au.