The summer bush fires and flash flooding in February 2020 have left significant hazards and damaged infrastructure at a number of Council bushland reserves.

Around 1000 ha of Council managed bushland in the upper Blue Mountains were severely burnt significantly impacting both biodiversity and recreational infrastructure assets including walking tracks, lookouts, footbridges, signs and stairs. (The image in the header above was taken at Blackheath after bush fires).

Read the Media Release: Damage to Council's bushland reserves after summer bush fires

The natural disaster after a one-in-50-year rain event in February, that closed Cliff Drive and Leura Cascades, has also left a complicated and expensive clean-up for Council. (The second image was taken at Leura Cascades after flash flooding).

Read the Media Relase: Natural disaster clean-up at Cliff Drive and Leura Cascades a major project for Council

Meanwhile, Council’s Charles Darwin Walk at Wentworth Falls is another popular visitor area affected by February’s flash flooding and has a significant clean-up bill.

Read the Media Release: Call for funding to repair flood damage at popular Council reserve

Some Council bushland reserves may remain closed for some time where major infrastructure needs replacing.

The recovery of the City and its tourism industry will rely on reopening these important tourism attractions as soon as possible, however the repair and restoration of fire and flood damaged infrastructure will require an enormous undertaking by Council with so many natural areas affected at the same time.

Environmental Recovery and Resilience         

Natural regeneration of the bushland starts to happen within days of a fire. The Blue Mountains landscape has evolved with fire; just how soon and exactly how it recovers depends on a variety of factors including how intense the fire was and whether the soil is disturbed or left alone after the fire. 

We are expecting it to be a significant period of time for the bushland to recover in the upper Blue Mountains considering the intensity of the summer bush fires and the significant topsoil and seed bank loss as a result of flooding experienced in February 2020.

Eucalypts and other trees/shrubs will recover if they are only heat scorched, and will drop all their leaves before growing new ones. However, some indigenous plants need fire to open seed husk and drop seed; this is the case for Banksias, Hakea and other species. They will start to germinate when conditions are favourable, generally from spring (September/October).

While areas remain closed and the bushland regenerates, it is important not to walk or otherwise disturb the landscape. Council has closed many some bushland reserves to allow the natives to regenerate without being walked on or otherwise disturbed.

Closed areas and illegal entry

Closures are put in place to reduce risk to the public from hazards, allow the environment to recover and so that Council can undertake recovery works.

We appreciate that these areas are used for recreation and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

Rangers patrol closed areas and issue fines to those who do not comply with closures.

Go to bmcc.nsw.gov.au/walking-tracks for more information.