Yass Tribune: Letter to the Editor “When will we heed the warnings, Yass Valley”

The 4th of April edition of the Tribune included a letter from Robyn Coghlan, of the Ginninderra Falls Association, wherein she raised concerns regarding the possible bushfire risk at the Parkwood area which is currently under consideration for urban development. Ms Coghlan said, among other things, that Parkwood is a “potential future disaster zone”. This is not the case. Australian bushfire agencies,( in NSW the Rural Fire Service (RFS)), have acquired a wealth of knowledge on bushfire behaviour and management, gained from hard experience and rigorous scientific research on their own behalf and in cooperation with organisations such as the CSIRO. This knowledge has led to the introduction of planning and design standards in bushfire prone areas that are amongst, or may actually be, the best in the world. The standards are rigorously enforced throughout the urban planning, design and construction process as they will be at Parkwood.

The standards are under constant review and it is likely that they will be further improved over time as new knowledge becomes available. For example, immediately following the recent Tathra fire referred to by Ms Coghlan, the RFS and CSIRO had a team of about twenty scientists on the ground gathering information on the behaviour and effect of the fire which will now be analysed .  Whilst much of Tathra was built before modern bushfire control standards were in place early reports from the researchers are that where asset protection zones similar to those planned for Parkwood were in place they worked very well.