CONTROLLED burns across Victoria’s public bushland to reduce wildfire risks are threatening native habitats, according to Koroit-based wildlife rescuer Tracey Wilson.
She fears it could take years for key south-west wildlife areas to recover.
“It’s tragic. The fallout will be phenomenal,” she said.
“I’m concerned they are burning way too much with little concern for natural habitat.”
Ms Wilson said there had been recent cases of animals, including wallabies and koalas having to be euthanised because of severe burning.
She predicted more native animals would be killed on roads as they wandered in search of food and water.
“I’m not blaming the DSE (Department of Sustainability and Environment) workers. They are only doing what they are told by the government,” she said.
Meanwhile, DSE regional manager for land and fire, Helen Vaughan, said about 15,500 hectares had been “treated” in the south-west and efforts were continuing.
“Our planned burning works reduce fuel loads to protect communities and reduce the threat of damaging bushfires,” she said.
“The threat from a major bushfire is significantly worse than risks associated with planned burning. Firefighters from Gippsland, north-east Victoria, central Victoria, north-west Victoria and Melbourne have come to the south-west to help,” Ms Vaughan said.
“Incident management team members, dozers and aircraft resources from across the state have also joined us to lend a hand.”
The south-west is also hosting 24 New Zealand firefighters for a few weeks.