Flames burn through Tarkeeth Forest in 2017.
Flames burn through Tarkeeth Forest in 2017. Facebook - Forest Neighbour from

Forest burn ignites concerns among neighbours

CONTROLLED burning is now under way at Tarkeeth Forest near Bellingen as part of Forestry Corporation of NSW's clearfelling of the timber plantation.

Forestry Corporation notified neighbours to prepare for the 50-hectare windrow fire, which it says aims to rid the area of unusable timber residue.

The fire is burning on Twin Pines Rd, about 8km south-east of Bellingen.

According to the corporation around 60 per cent of the forest is timber plantation that was planted during the 1960's.

The area, which was previously privately owned farms, was purchased by the Forestry Commission in 1984. It has been subject to logging and replanting since 2012 and the operations have been spaced out over a number of years.

Flames burn through Tarkeeth Forest in 2017.
Flames burn through Tarkeeth Forest in 2017. Facebook - Forest Neighbour from

However, these operations have sparked unrest among many nearby residents who are concerned about the effects of smoke pollution, the harvesting methods including chemical spraying, and the potential bushfire danger.

Whether it is appropriate to harvest Tarkeeth Forest has been subject of some discussion, with Candidate for Cowper and Bellingen resident Andrew Woodward previously stating changing times has seen many more residents now living by the forest compared to when the timber was first planted.

Two men and a woman, dubbed the Tarkeeth Three, were found guilty of protest action at Coffs Harbour Local Court in 2017 after they chained themselves to a roadway in attempt to stop the felling and carting of timber from the forest.

Two of the protesters later had their convictions quashed on appeal at the Coffs Harbour courthouse.

Tarkeeth Two have convictions quashed.
Tarkeeth Two have convictions quashed. Contributed

Campaign group Not in My Forest have also previously staged a number of rallies outside Parliament House.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service yesterday announced the bush fire danger period for Bellingen and Coffs Harbour which was due to end this month has been extended until the end of April.


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