Fire is an ever-present influence on much of the Australian landscape, and has been a driver of ecosystem change through the Tertiary and Quaternary periods. The arrival of aboriginal people at perhaps 50 to 60 ka BP, and subsequently European settlement in the last 200 years, has resulted in major changes in fire regimes. Much of the Australian forest vegetation is fireprone as well as fire-adapted, and major fires periodically consume more than one million ha in a single fire event. Enormous financial costs are incurred in fire control, as well as in the loss of assets and primary production. This chapter describes the impacts of the most recent disastrous forest fires that swept across large areas of New South Wales and Victoria in the early summer months of 2003, following a season of very dry conditions. These fires were ignited by lightning, and burned for about 60 days.
|Title of host publication||Fire Effects on Soils and Restoration Strategies|
|Number of pages||43|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2009|