Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

Grasslands Burn

02 May 2018

Areas of burnt grasslandAfter months of planning Charles Sturt University’s Division of Facilities Management staff, in consultation with staff at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, St Marks and the Friends of Grasslands, implemented a cool mosaic burn on the morning of Saturday 28th April.

Conditions were perfect with an overnight minimum of three degrees and a maximum of 18 with minimal wind. The burn was conducted by the ACT Rural Fire Service (RFS) who used the exercise as a training opportunity.

The purpose of the burn was to create inter-tussock spaces to stimulate growth of the diversity of native forbs (wildflowers) and grasses. Also, to minimise opportunities for the spread of introduced species including Bearded Oats, Perennial Ryegrass and Serrated Tussock.

Kookaburra on a steel postApproximately sixty percent of the two hectare grassland site was burnt.  We expect a prolific growth spurt in a diversity of species including the Kangaroo Grass, orchids, lilies and yam daisies.  CSU is grateful for Sarah Sharp’s expertise regarding this ecosystem. Sarah will return to the site in November to quantify the impact of this cool mosaic burn on the biodiversity values.

Drone footage was taken before, during and immediately after the burn. The RFS implemented the burn, light up at 10am with mopping up completed by 1:30pm. The RFS used this burn as a training exercise.

One of the outputs from this exercise will be to produce a “Guide to planning grassland burns in Canberra”. CSU plans to share this resource with ANU Green, the University of Canberra and other interested stakeholder groups.

By Kym Witney-Soanes, CSU Green and Mark Evans, Division of Facilities Management.

Photos by Hazel Francis.