We had planned this day for months, got all our permissions and made sure we had assistance from seasoned firefighters. We new we had the best part of a month before the fire season started. Finally the day came and four piles of woody weeds were burned. That, sadly, was the day parts of western Sydney caught alight and they declared the fire season to be started. But we persisted and it worked well.
We had previously made four piles containing the bulk of the dead African Boxthorns to be burned. This species is a vigorous weed that contains huge woody thorns. When killed it becomes a great wooden hedgehog. Unlike some other plants, such as eucalypts or willows, the thorns are not shredded and remain very sharp, being robust enough to pierce even tractor tyres. As a result they cannot be easily disposed of and so have to be stacked, raked and burnt.
While some of us helped by starting, managing and watching the fires until not even hot ashes were left, the rest continued with weeding and other routine jobs. Bill and Ray had already been busy completing the frame for the first bird hide. Soon a concrete base will be placed inside along with metal seats and a colorbond screen. A tool shed will be added as well as windows. Large shrubs will screen off people walking to the hide from the very skittish ducks.