Australia: NSW – Warrumbungle National Park


In the aftermath of a bushfire that has swept through four fifths of the Warrumbungle National Park, authorities must now determine just what is to be done in one of Australia’s premier national parks. That moment may not have yet arrived, given that the the bushfire continues to burn in the region and the threat has not yet been eliminated. When that time comes the true extent of devastation in the national park will seem overwhelming.

The extensive network of bushwalking trails, bridges and lookouts have been severely damaged and the visitor’s centre has been destroyed. Fears remain for wildlife in the park, particularly the Koala and Rock Wallaby populations.

For more visit:
http://www.theage.com.au/environment/conservation/reserve-burnt-to-a-cinder-20130119-2d000.html
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/bushfire-changes-warrumbungle-national-park-.htm
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/bushfire-damage-at-australias-largest-observatory.htm
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-01-14/homes-destroyed-in-nsw-bushfire/4463136
http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/2013/01/18/05/00/firefighters-brace-for-nsw-outbreaks

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AUSTRALIA: ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER UNFOLDING ON QUEENSLAND COAST


An environmental disaster is unfolding on the Queensland coast, with the oil spill from the Hong Kong-flagged ship Pacific Adventurer. The Pacific Adventurer was badly damaged during the Cyclone Hamish weather event last week.

The Pacific Adventurer somehow managed to get caught up in the cyclone despite very early warnings concerning the cyclone. Some 31 containers containing ammonium nitrate were washed into the sea during the cyclone and as this occurred the ship itself was badly damaged, leaking some 230 tonnes of oil into the ocean. The initial report from the ship was that some 30 tonnes of oil had been lost.

The environmental disaster is huge, with the oil now affecting over 60km of coastline, including the eastern coast of Moreton Island. Sea life is being severely impacted by the disaster.

The cleanup is being done at a rate of about 1 to 2 km a day, which means it will take quite some time to complete.

Also of concern are the 31 containers of ammonium nitrate that are still missing and which could further contaminate the region. Navy mine hunters are being called in to search for the containers which remain a shipping hazard.