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Logging 'slash' fire risk at Benandarah State Forest must be cleaned up: Independent MP

NSW Independent MP and South Coast resident Justin Field has backed calls for Forestry Corporation to cleanup logging slash in the Benandarah State Forest.

Visiting the area on Wednesday Mr Field said, “Some of these slash piles are head high. It’s madness that Forestry Corporation has been allowed to leave this on the ground; It’s a massive fire risk.”

Earlier this week the NSW RFS warned that although “wet weather had allowed firefights to “clear their heads”....”the rain did not mean the fire season was over.” Mr Field said, “I’m shocked this has been allowed right alongside the Princess Highway and adjacent to two local fuel stations. If this slash lights up it risks a fire jumping the highway into the Murramarang National Park and running all the way to the coast.”

Justin Field - "This is part of the Benandarah State Forest. Through sheer luck the bushfires this summer didn't get into the piles of logging slash left by Forestry Corporation jusr before fire season. Forestry Corp say that nothing is wrong with this, that it's all within the rules but even the RFS are warning about this areas as high fire risk. This is one of the last areas of unburnt National Park in the region and a critical refuge for native animals. It is essential that all actions are taken to reduce the risk of fires getting into these unburnt areas and this is the most obvious fire risk.Analysis has estimated slash loads at up to 100 tonnes per hectare." Mr Field said, “The RFS has warned the fire risk isn’t over. The RFS internal maps even note warnings that these areas have high fuel loads. Forestry Corporation needs to take action. Mr Field also called out the role of logging activities in creating or exacerbating fire risk across the region.

“I think we need to look critically at how active logging has affected fire risk and the spread of fires across the region. We know the Currowan Fire started in an active forestry coup in the Currowan State Forest.  We need to look at how logging close to critical road infrastructure, population centres and National Parks is changing fire behaviours and the risks of fires starting and spreading."

Above: evidence of the logging debris

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