The recent bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 have had a devastating impact on our communities and our natural environment. Tragically, lives have been lost and thousands of homes have been destroyed or damaged, across the country. The bushfires have burned more than 5.3 million hectares in New South Wales, including more than 2.7 million hectares of our national park estate.
We are still determining the full magnitude of the damage, in terms of the extent and severity of the fires and the impacts on our wildlife and their natural habitats. Efforts continue to actively fight fires that are still burning in a number of areas of the state. Using state of the art aerial imagery, remote sensing and mapping techniques, our scientists are completing our understanding of the impacts the fires have had on our natural environment and what this means for recovery.
What we know is that many of our most vulnerable species have been heavily impacted as a result of the fires and now face threats from habitat loss, scarcity of food and water and predation by feral animals. While our assessment continues, we are undertaking essential recovery actions right now.
This document sets out the immediate actions we are taking to protect wildlife and support the natural recovery process that has already started in many areas. Our immediate response includes the deployment of watering stations, supplementary food drops, and broad-scale feral animal
control. We are also planning for the longer-term restoration and recovery of our native animals, plants and landscapes across New South Wales. We will continue to update our response as we improve our understanding of the impacts of the fires.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the firefighting effort. In particular, I want to thank those volunteers who have selflessly contributed their time to protect others, often while their own properties were under threat, and the firefighting staff in my own portfolio, including in the National Parks and Wildlife Service, many of
whom are still fighting active fires.
Coming through a disaster is a time when our community unites. Many of us have been touched by the images of the tireless and heroic efforts of not only our firefighters, but also volunteers rescuing wildlife from fire grounds and providing care. These stories and images have contributed to
a groundswell of support and generosity from communities in New South Wales, Australia and internationally. This support will greatly assist in the rehabilitation of many injured animals and restoration of their habitat.
The Hon. Matthew Kean MP
Minister for Energy and Environment