Fire Hits Saunders Gorge Sanctuary - Friday 17th January 2014

A fire started near Eden Valley on the morning of Friday 17th 2014

After a quick inspection from the fence at the back of our property it was apparent that the day ahead was going to be a battle

This fire is travelling fast and heading towards our property

All we can do is watch and wait for its arrival - it is now into our property

It quickly roars down the valleys burning everything in its path

Fire approaching the first of our buildings the battle begins

Its now time to defend our home, restaurant, accommodation buildings and try to save the animals as the first fire front approaches from the north

The fight gets up close and personal as we now get attacked from the south as the fire comes through the gorge but with great team work from volunteer CFS crews, friends with their own fire unit and our fire unit we were able to fight off the fire and save all buildings

The fire burns on through the night among the gum trees - in the camping area we were able to save some but with limited water and man power we had to pick our battles. Many of the trees are burnt  and hollowed out by fire but native trees have the ability to regrow so now we wait and see how they recover

Scorched hills they will recover as native plants will come back if given time and left undisturbed. We will not restock with sheep for several years (if ever) as we are committed to conservation and want to give nature the best chance to allow trees and shrubs to re establish on the hills. This may be our only chance as fire triggers seeds to germinate at the first rain and we must not let sheep or other live stock eat them. They say this is a once in a 100 year event so if we don't let the trees and bushes establish now there will probably be no seed stock for any future recoveries.

Days after the main fire and the hollow trees still burn an endless battle to put them out CFS crews come from all around the state. We are still putting out trees that are burning 10 days after the main fire

Some Historic items could not be saved we extinguished the fire on and around the old wagon during the night but by morning it was gone

Camping Area will be closed until we get good winter rain

The area will need a good clean up trees will need to be assessed for safety and we want to allow time for grass and new seedlings to grow

Please if visiting our Sanctuary it is now more important then ever to stay on designated tracks as any off track driving or hiking will kill seedlings and could lead to erosion

We saved the accommodation buildings and our house/restaurant

Accommodation is now open again for bookings - we are not looking for charity just your support to keep the conservation business going

We saved most of our beloved pets here they are enjoying some hay that was generously donated (Thank You)

Like the Kangaroos sitting in the shade of their favorite trees we don't intend to leave. This is our home and we will plan a way forward for Saunders Gorge Sanctuary

There are kms of fencing to be rebuilt throughout the property but before we can rebuild all of the old fences have to be removed as old wire poses a problem to animals  this all needs to be done before it rains and the wire gets lost in the new grass.

Some of the native grasses are already trying to re grow. I think a fire truck parked here and some water spilt onto the ground this native grass took full advantage of a drink

The property has recovered and is Open For Business

For more information email or phone  Brenton & Nadene Newman

www.saundersgorge.com.au