Media Release: Tarkine forest blockade has evacuated due to a bushfire.

For almost five months, our Sumac forest blockade camp has successfully prevented the logging of these ancient Gondwanan rainforests. On Thursday afternoon a helicopter with a water bucket was observed by our campaigner, Scott Jordan, flying over camp and dropping water nearby. Sustainable Timbers Tasmania sent an email to our campaigners at 4:30pm informing them that a lightning strike had started a fire 1km from the blockade camp in remote forest south of Keppel Creek. Our staff and volunteers were out of the camp to a safe location soon after.

A strict fire evacuation protocol has been in place at camp to ensure the safety of volunteers and avoid unnecessary risk to emergency services personnel. The protocol was enacted immediately, and the evacuation was quickly undertaken. With a change in conditions on Friday afternoon, and with a safety clearance from National Parks and Wildlife Service, our campaigner Scott Jordan and two volunteers returned and packed down our camp.

Since establishing the camp on 10th September 2018 to prevent proposed logging of the Sumac rainforest in the Tarkine, the camp has been occupied by a roster of over 180 volunteers and has hosted hundreds of visitors for a cup of tea and a walk in the ancient threatened rainforests beyond the camp. Our blockade camp will be re-established after the fire is out and there is no threat of re-ignition.

We thank the firefighters who are fighting this fire to prevent it from spreading into the Sumac Regional Reserve, a significant tract of Gondwanan rainforest. We are also very thankful to our volunteers who helped us defend and protect these ancient rainforests for so long. These forests are threatened by the Tasmania’s Government plans to push a logging road in and log the ancient rainforest.

With thanks from Scott Jordan, Jenny Weber, Steven Chaffer and the Bob Brown Foundation team.

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