Recovery from fires
The 2019-20 bushfire season was the worst fire season recorded in NSW history. More than 5.5 million hectares of the state was burnt and 38% of the national park estate, more than 2.7 million hectares, was impacted.
Read more about Recovery from fires
Of the 245 national parks wholly or partially within the fire ground, 23% show full canopy damage and a further 36% show partial damage.
Why was the 2019-20 bushfire season so devastating?
The independent NSW Bushfire Inquiry found the severity and extent of the 2019-20 bushfire season was caused by extreme weather (drought, high average temperature, low humidity), influenced by climate change. The Inquiry reported that NSW experienced both its hottest and driest year on record in 2019.
The Inquiry also established that fuel loads were, in general and on average, no higher than for other seasons since 1990.
What is the impact on wildlife?
The fires have had a severe impact on wildlife. Many animals have been affected by the fires, including threatened species.
Many animal species found in NSW national parks have been identifed by the Commonwealth Government's Wildlife and Threatened Species Bushfire Recovery Expert Panel as requiring urgent management intervention following the fires. These include the regent honeyeater, gang-gang cockatoo, koala, mountain pygmy-possum, Manning River helmeted turtle, and southern corroboree frog.
What was our response to the 2019-20 bushfires?
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) invested over 43,000 staff days to fighting 519 fires during the last bushfire season. Our specialist teams of remote area firefighters were instrumental in preventing many fires from becoming larger, as well as saving the only known grove of Wollemi pines, and the rare nightcap oak.
Supplementary food and water was delivered by NPWS and the Saving our Species program in fire affected areas across the State to rescue several threatened native species, including the brush-tailed rock-wallaby and mountain pygmy-possum.
Immediate actions undertaken to protect wildlife and support the natural recovery process are outlined in the NSW Government’s Wildlife and Conservation Bushfire Recovery Immediate Response, released in January 2020.
What are the current priorities for wildlife recovery on national parks?
Feral animal control
We're currently undertaking the largest feral animal control program in NPWS history, including large aerial baiting and shooting operations. This targets pigs, deer, goats, foxes and cats to protect threatened species and refuge areas.
This program is being supported by a comprehensive monitoring program to measure the success of these interventions. This enhanced post-fire program will continue into 2021.
Intensive weed control
Protecting important wildlife habitat
More than ever, protecting native wildlife habitat from bushfires is essential to improve the trajectory of many threatened species.
The NSW Government has committed an extra $22.9 million to increase hazard reduction activity, with a focus on reducing risk in and around homes, farms and community assets. An additional helicopter and 125 firefighters will boost our capacity to protect people, property and the environment from bushfires, including work to protect important unburnt refuge areas.
We're also carrying out targeted field surveys and monitoring to locate remaining populations and track the success of our interventions.
Support to wildlife rehabilitators
The NSW Government committed $1 million in emergency funding in November 2019 in response to the bushfires. This funding is in addition to the $4.05 million committed for wildlife rehabilitation under the NSW Government Koala Strategy, and the $1.47 million Wildlife Heroes Program that supports the state's dedicated army of volunteer wildlife rehabilitators.
We’re working with wildlife rehabilitation groups across the state to help them meet the growing demands of rescuing more than 100,000 animals every year, and ensure they're well-prepared for future bushfires.
- Plan to protect and preserve bushfire affected biodiversity, 25 Feb 2021.
- NPWS lights up for safer communities
- Northern Tableland's endangered wallabies bounding back after bushfire
- Blue Mountains koalas are returned to the bush from their zoo sanctuary after summer fires
- Hope for endangered butterfly as Central Tablelands caterpillars dig deep to survive fires
- Kangaroo Valley brush-tailed rock-wallaby colony trapping confirms post-fire survival
- How two rare plants were saved from a bushfire demise
- Firefighter funding boost for next fire season
- Providing water for thirsty koalas
- Wallaby colony survives in Kangaroo Valley
- $5 million for bushfire affected areas
- Mount Canobolas rises from the ashes with some new finds
- Looking after Warrumbungles brush-tailed rock-wallabies
- Firefighters save prehistoric oak
- Fire fighting mission saves prehistoric pines
- Bogong biccies and water stations delivered to mountain pygmy-possums
- ADF helicopters fly corroboree frog rescue to Kosciuszko
- Aerial food drops for endangered wildlife
- Native wildlife benefit from right community actions
Learn more about the impact of the 2019-20 fires with the most recent statistics and data about the areas affected.
The recovery of our NSW national parks and reserves will be ongoing. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.