On the afternoon of the 20th of December, a fire started on private property North of the Preston River in the locality of Mumballup and escalated into the Southern edge of the Wellington National Park. Fire suppression was aided by aerial support in some very steep gullies choked with invasive Blackberry. As night descended and aerial support having returned to base, the fire pushed into adjoining properties to the West fanned by strong South Easterly winds, despite a huge effort from local and Department of Biodiversity and Conservation & Attractions (DBCA) ground crews. The fire was pulled up East of Guidici Road in the early hours of the next morning, having burnt through three properties, the Southern Edge of Glenn Mervyn Dam and Lyall’s Creek that feeds the Preston River Irrigation Scheme.

Fire Destruction of Blackberry Thickets Provided for Access and Improved Ability to Control Infestations
Unfortunately, many hectares of pasture, fence lines and flora and fauna was lost in the blaze. Amidst the outfall of this sobering and destructive situation, the Leschenault Biosecurity Group (LBG) was approached to address a post fire response to weed control in the Lyall’s creek catchment. The catchment was fairly heavily impacted by fire and the blackberry thickets in the riparian zone were largely destroyed. The density, matrix and thorns of Blackberry infestations are huge barriers for any Blackberry control, limiting access and the overall ability for treatment particularly when the infestation are large.  The significant destruction of blackberry in these fires, provided an opportunity for the LBG to come on board as part of the larger fire response effort to contribute in a small way to aiding landholders get on top of their blackberry infestations post bushfires. The group employed a contractor to mop up the resprouting blackberry canes which were much more accessible than otherwise would have been pre-fire.

Proactive Actions Required to Address Invasive Weeds that will Emerge to fill the Post-fire Understory Vacuum
Going forward, whilst fire is often viewed through a European lens of cleaning out the ‘rubbish that litters’ rivers and creek lines, in the short term a more concerning view is what grows back in the understory vacuum. Invariably, landholders & manages need to arm themselves with an arsenal of post fire strategies to deal with a plethora of emergent invasive weeds that exploit enriched soil nutrients & the availability of atmospheric resources.

Blackberry Control Support:  Contact LBG to discuss any blackberry control concerns you may have on 0477 049 967 or by e-mail at  We can provide guidance for tackling Blackberry and other declared pest weeds infestations to make that job easier.