Fire rips through dingo sanctuary
A WILDLIFE expert is warning others about the dangers of poor safety practices after a fire destroyed half of his property.
Durong Dingo Sanctuary owner, Simon Stretton, said winter was a dangerous time for bushfires because there was limited rain and lots of dry grass lying around.
"It's a massive reminder we live in a fragile environment and all you need is a spark for something to get out of control,” Mr Stretton said.
"You live out in the bush and you have the responsibility to maintain your property.”
A bushfire ripped through the Durong Dingo Sanctuary on Sunday, April 22, burning through more than half of the property.
Mr Stretton is thankful his neighbours, the houses and his dingoes were safe.
"All I could think was I've got to stop the fire getting into my place and getting to the dingoes,” he said.
About 15 fire crews attended the fire, which spanned about three kilometres long and one kilometre wide, affecting about six properties, he said.
Mr Stretton said he was thankful he was prepared with good fire practice, with wide fire breaks of up to 10 metres around some of the enclosures.
One of the crews parked between the dingo enclosure and the creek and stopped the flames getting too close to the dingoes, he said.
"That was the best thing that could've happened, it's great to see that because a lot of people don't like dingoes...and I'm really appreciative of what they did,” Mr Stretton said.
The dingoes in the sanctuary panicked because they had not been exposed to many fires, or disrupted by noise before last weekend, Mr Stretton said.
"Mine freaked out because of the smoke, the noise, the smell and the trucks,” he said.
The female dingoes went underground in dens to escape the fire, but one of the male dingoes had ripped the wire near the gate and escaped into a nearby enclosure.
"He was sitting in the corner shivering, but he was safe,” Mr Stretton said.
Despite maintaining fire breaks around the fences, Mr Stretton keeps the grass long inside the enclosure because the dingoes like to hide in the long grass.
If the fire was a bit bigger and got into the enclosure, it could have been a very different story, he said.
"We all survived, we're all annoyed and angry about what happened because of all of the habitat that's been lost,” he said.