Plenty Gorge Fire Recovery
A fire started in Plenty Gorge Park on 30 December 2019, starting at the Tanunda Wetlands area of the park. Approximately 65 hectares was burnt. The fire was attended by the CFA, MFB and staff from Forest Fire Management Victoria, including Parks Victoria.
All bushfire affected areas are now reopened following extensive planning and recovery works. To enjoy the park safely and assist in the parks recovery, visitors are reminded to stick to the trails and avoid rehabilitation areas.
There are some pockets of bush in yellowgum that have responded really positively to the bushfire, some areas have experienced mass germination of indigenous flora such as acacia’s, eucalyptus, and burgen. These species have evolved with fire, and will grow rapidly, hopefully out-competing some the woody weeds in the area. Also, a number of orchid species have utilised the newly opened space made available by the fire and have popped up, including special species that are listed as threatened or endangered.
Parks Victoria is closely monitoring the weeds that have come up in the fire-affected area and working hard to prioritise and treat them. Rapid weed growth is an expected response to fire in bushland. Some weeds that have appeared since the fire, will naturally drop out of the system as the bush regenerates and the tree canopy repairs and shades them out (eg. Capeweed, whose bright yellow flowers can be seen everywhere in the fire-affected area at the moment). Other weeds will require targeted and sustained efforts to be treated (eg. boneseed and broom).
Unfortunately, recent ongoing vandalism of exclusion fences and orchid cages has had a significant impact on work that Parks Victoria is undertaking to protect threatened flora species in the area. Some of these flora species are extremely rare, and they are a very special community asset. If the vandalism continues, they may be lost forever. Parks Victoria is taking great care to make sure that these exclusion fences and cages are placed in areas that won’t interfere with major mountain bike trails, or with peoples enjoyment of the park. If anyone sees any perpetrators of vandalism, or signs of vandalism, please take note of the time and location, and report it immediately to Parks Victoria at 131963.
Protecting Aboriginal Cultural Heritage
Wurundjeri people have, on a seasonal basis, visited the area now known as Plenty Gorge Park for tens of thousands of years. The fire and its suppression work have exposed important, and previously unregistered cultural material that is associated with this occupation.
Parks Victoria has engaged a Cultural Heritage Advisor with assistance from Wurundjeri to survey the affected area. Unregistered cultural material located during the survey has now been formally registered, preserving local aboriginal history for future generations.
Mountain Biking trails project
In partnership with the Plenty Gorge Mountain Bike Club, the successful Pick My Project grant funded mountain biking program in the park will now recommence. This will see appropriate mountain bike trails in the area formalised, sign posted and maintained.
Volunteer and community groups have continued to express interest in helping with the recovery effort in the park. Please visit www.parkconnect.vic.gov.au for available volunteer opportunities.
For more information on Parks Victoria’s Melbourne bushfire preparedness, please visit www.parks.vic.gov.au/projects/melbourne-bushfire-preparedness
Or for information on past and future planned burns and the location of our annual slashing program in Plenty Gorge visit the interactive map at www.ffm.vic.gov.au/jfmp (turn on ‘fire history’ and ‘mechanical works’ layers).
Visit the Plenty Gorge Park page for information about things to do in the park or call 13 1963.
Regular Community Updates are posted on the Parks Victoria website https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/places-to-see/parks/plenty-gorge-parklands and can be found below.