Fireweed is out of control and taking over parts of the Little Desert National Park in the Wimmera district of Victoria. Fireweed seems to have beaten the DSE. That is, the DSE seems to have given up trying to combat Fireweed in the Little Desert National Park.
Fireweed is quite thick along the Wimmera River which forms the eastern boundary of the Little Desert National Park. It's unclear to me whether the infestation has arrived as a result of recent flooding of the Wimmera River or whether the fireweed has simply spread from agricultural land, in the wind, the usual way fireweed spreads. Either way, from my past experience of fireweed, it won't be long before large parts, if not all of the park will be badly affected.
View Camp in the Little Desert in a larger map
The Little Desert National Park currently boasts more than 670 species of native plants. Will this be sustained under the dominance of fireweed?
Mature trees are unlikely to be affected by fireweed. Will the seed of native plants germinate under a low canopy of fireweed? Will native seedlings thrive as normal?
What of the little plants that grow to a height of less than the fireweed? What hope have they?
It's something of a joke, but not a very funny joke. The sign reads Revegetation Area and the whole area is a huge mass of fireweed.
My home district of Bega on the Far South Coast of NSW, mainly dairy country, also has a fireweed problem. After trying for several years, the Bega Valley Shire Council has also given up on fireweed.
Council can't effectively manage the firewed on the roadsides and recreation reserves so can hardly push landholders to manage their fireweed problem.
But one Bega group is taking a stand: the Bega Valley Fireweed Association. See their website for current best practice and reports on scientific investigations.
Fireweed is part of the daisy family and can readily be identified by it's 13 petals.