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Putting roads and reserves in the clear

Since the Black Summer bushfires Eurobodalla Council has prioritised the removal of fire-affected dead and dying trees from verges along the 490 kilometres of local roads it manages.

Council’s director of infrastructure Warren Sharpe said community safety was the primary concern after fires ravaged 80 per cent of the shire, with work to remove dangerous trees starting almost immediately.

“We focussed first on fallen trees and those posing an imminent threat, both along our roads and in Council-owned reserves. Thanks to Natural Disaster Relief funding we could continue to remove fire-affected trees from roadsides – vital work that is expected to continue until the end of 2022,” Mr Sharpe said.

“Now we’ve secured almost $3 million under the Bushfire Generated Green Waste program. That allows us to tackle fire-affected trees in our reserves – particularly where the bush borders residents’ homes – and complete the work along roadside verges.”

Council’s works manager Tony Swallow said the funding would enable Council to respond to the genuine concerns raised by residents, with thorough investigation of bushfire affected high-risk trees on nearby Council land.

“We’re being asked about stands of hazardous and dead trees and the risks they pose,” Mr Swallow said.

“This new funding means we can remove the potential hazards posed by trees falling onto private property or as fuel for future bushfires. It also removes an ugly reminder of the past that many residents would prefer to forget.”

Mr Swallow said Council employed a trained arborist to assess the condition of the trees prior to removal.

“With the bigger burnt trees, like the large eucalypts, canopy regrowth is a good indicator of the tree’s ability to survive. Of course, there was a lot of epicormic growth – branches growing directly from the tree trunks – after the fires as some species of eucalypts use these newly sprouted leaves to survive,” he said.

“Many have survived but, nearly two years on, others have less than 20 per cent of their previous canopy cover or are completely dead. Now they can be safely removed.”

Above: Secondary tree death along Belowra Road.