Garry and I often receive calls regarding burning off on public or private land. The Government department responsible for conducting ‘controlled’ burns will carry on regardless of concerns of the public. However, if given the chance to offer suggestions to Government departments or private individuals who may wish to conduct burns on their land, the following may be suggested – but don’t expect miracles.
Burn areas with a dense under-storey during the cooler months when birds, or other species, won’t be breeding. If spring burning needs/has to be done, preference is to burn areas that have little under-storey. Please check the area for nests prior to burning.
Burn areas in small blocks, ie in a mosaic pattern, this will retain habitat for species present.
Cool burns are preferred, they will do less damage to wildlife and will almost always leave some habitat, eg grass tussocks, leaf litter, etc which small animals such as lizards and invertebrates can shelter in.
Raking around hollow stumps, coppice growth, hollow logs, etc before burning will help retain habitat for species present in the area. Some voluntary help eg scouts, locals interested in their forests and various other groups may be available to help with raking if enough warning is given.
Remember, some ‘controlled’ burns end up uncontrolled.