FILE PHOTO: An aerial shot of the Wallangarra fire in February which damaged a number of parks near Tenterfield.
FILE PHOTO: An aerial shot of the Wallangarra fire in February which damaged a number of parks near Tenterfield. Samantha Wantling

Work continues to reopen fire-affected parks

SIX months on, work is underway to rehabilitate the areas devastated by the extensive Wallangarra bushfires in February this year.

Recovery work is continuing at Bald Rock, Boonoo Boonoo and the Basket Swamp national parks, between Tenterfield and Drake, with efforts focused on making the visitor areas safe to reopen.

Members of Tenterfield Shire Council visited these areas with National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff last week to see first-hand work to reopen to the parks to visitors.

NPWS and Office of Environment & Heritage staff have been working to assess the impact to the park ecosystems and make visitor areas safe.

NPWS ranger Dirk Richards said an essential, but time-consuming, part of the recovery process is assessing visitor safety at various locations, with many trees close to picnic areas, walking tracks and campgrounds needing work to reduce the potential risk of injury from tree or limb fall.

"Whilst these parks remain closed we ask the public to respect the park closed signs and not enter these areas for their own personal safety," Mr Richards said.

"The environmental road to recovery in these parks will be very much influenced by the weather in the coming months and years."

Mr Richards said NPWS and Office of Environment & Heritage staff are working to assess the damage to the park ecosystems through a variety of methods, including targeted flora and fauna surveys, camera surveillance of pest species and remote sensing analysis of fire severity.

"Germination of grasses and growth from root stock are encouraging signs in spite of the continued drought conditions in Tenterfield Shire," he said.

"Snapshots of ecosystem recovery will be taken at six months, 12 months, two and five year intervals to track the recovery of the unique ecosystems in these parks."

Mr Richards said the temporary closures are an excellent opportunity to visit one of the other beautiful national parks in Tenterfield Shire such as Mt Mackenzie Nature Reserve, Torrington State Conservation Area or Curry's Gap State Conservation Area.