helpful information for bushfire recovery 2020

Cuddlee Creek
Find out about how Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges can assist you with bushfire recovery including wildlife assistance, livestock assistance and property recovery.

Kangaroo Island
Comprehensive page from Natural Resources Kangaroo Island, with contacts for caring for wildlife, property recovery, and livestock assistance.

Fauna Rescue
Koala Rescue: 1300 KOALAS (1300 562 527)
Other Wildlife: 08 8289 0896

Environmental Volunteering
Conservation Volunteers Australia have been selected to coordinate the national environmental volunteering response to the bushfire crisis. You can register for volunteering opportunities on their website

Wildlife Recovery Fund
If you would like to make a donation to assist with re-establishment of habitat for native animals you can do this through the Wildlife Recovery Fund on the Nature Conservation Foundation website

Fire Management
Environment SA Fire Management

South Australian CFS
Emergency Phone: 000
CFS Hotline: 1300 362 361
CFS Headquarters: (08) 8115 3300
CFS Website for up-to-date fire and incident information info.

Helping with bushfire recovery and getting the best outcomes for people wildlife and habitat. (from NRM Education Weekly Digest – March 8 2020)

The unprecedented number of fires we have experienced during our recent spring and summer have directly affected many communities through loss of property and the many areas of native vegetation burnt, with native animals killed or left without habitat.

There has been a wonderful response from the wider community, schools included, in wanting to help the communities affected, by looking after fire-affected wildlife and restoring habitat (native vegetation) for those animals.

This is a fantastic and very heart-felt response from the wider community, many of you included. What we need to keep in mind though, especially in relation to native plants and animals, is that we do not have detrimental impacts on our natural environment through our well-intended efforts.

Some of the things to keep in mind are:
• Planting seedlings (tube stock) back into areas of native vegetation will potentially destroy understorey species that already exist and that will naturally germinate from seed and rootstocks in the ground. Apart from rainforest species, our native flora is adapted to and requires fire to survive, so many species will respond with new growth and vigour after a fire event. Some of these understorey species may also be quite rare, so we don’t want to be responsible for their demise through our actions.

• Another issue with planting tube stock is the possibility of introducing pathogens through the potting mix, although the chance of doing this is low. More of a problem is the spread of Phytophthora (root rot). This fungus-like organism kills many susceptible local native plants and can be spread by soil disturbance (e.g. carried on walking shoes, vehicle tyres and via water movement).

• People will argue that because the fires were very hot seed may not have survived in the soil. Fires have arguably been hotter since European settlement because they have not been as frequent as when traditional Aboriginal burning occurred. Even so, it is best to give seeds time to respond after fire because there are many factors which contribute to germination, such as adequate water, etc.

• Even if we are worried that plants won’t regenerate, the general rule is to wait a year or two (depending on rainfall) to see what happens before thinking about revegetation. Revegetation is fine on properties that have been cleared of native vegetation and have been used for cropping. Even where grazing has happened there are often native grasses and other herbaceous plants that will regenerate. If in doubt contact your Natural Resources Management (NRM) Officer at your NRM Board.

The most important things that will support recovery of native vegetation are weed and pest animal control, and managing total grazing pressure. These things need to be coordinated by people who have knowledge of the issues. It is also important to leave deadtrees and fallen timber for habitat for animals and plants.

• Plants that are grown for properties should be from seed local to the area, as using local provenance is the current focus.

Whatever activity you are thinking of carrying out needs to be done with some planning and coordination. Try to think about the following before coming up with ideas:
• Rather than coming up with an activity like growing plants, maybe find someone who has a need and try to help them with this issue instead.

• The Natural Resources Management Boards, Department for Environment and Water, Primary Industries and Resources SA, Environment Protection Authority, Non-Government Organisations and local councils are coordinating recovery programs to address issues identified by landholders including livestock, soil erosion, native flora and fauna, waterways and dams. It is good to coordinate with these people before doing anything, keeping in mind that resources are currently stretched.

• Do you know a landholder who needs your help? Keep in mind that landholders have been through a great deal with the fires, including loss of fences, property, livestock and sometimes loss of life. Landholders need time to be ready for help and may be focused on getting properties operational again. This might include finding accommodation, fencing, reinstalling waterpoints, getting feed for stock, getting back on their feet financially and just coping with the trauma and associated effects of the fires. So sometimes it’s better to wait a while and, if they do need help, ask them what would be useful to them.

So, to sum up, there is a great deal that can be done to help, but remember, sometimes waiting until there is a landholder with a need can be better than rushing in. It is better to find out what is needed before growing plants, building nest boxes or carrying out other activities. There would be nothing worse than getting students involved only to find what you have done has no use.

It is important to talk to someone with expertise in habitat restoration at your local Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board office.

It is appreciated that there are so many caring people in the wider community in South Australia.

Helpful Information for the Pinery Bushfire Recovery 

Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges:
Website: Pinery Bush Fire Recovery

Provides information for local contacts, property recovery, bushfire recovery and biodiversity, native vegetation clearance and managing bare soils. 

Pinery Regreening Continues

Website: Pinery Regreening Continues

More than 50,000 plants have been given to landholders affected by the 2015 Pinery Fire. This plant giveaway was designed to help beautify homes and gardens, and to repair farming land by adding windbreaks, shelter belts, and paddock trees.