Camphor laurel and Fire Risk
A survey of a representative
range of Bushfire Brigade Officers in camphor-infested areas between Lismore
and Byron Bay reveals that there is almost unanimous objection to the near-total
infestations of this tree-weed along both roadsides and steep dry hillsides
leading up to roads.
Initial investigations since 1998 revealed that Bush Fire Captains are
mostly aware that in particularly dry-drought seasons, camphor trees can
wilt to the point where they become regarded as highly flammable.
Serious risk is associated with dense, multi-stemmed camphor infestations
near ridgetops, where a narrow country road follows a ridge for some kilometers
or more, and there may be no avenue of escape for vehicles likely to trapped
in a fast windblown fire at that level. The trees have a very high leaf
and stem oil component which fuels the blaze.
In the Built Environment
Residents of Sydney's eastern suburbs, and those in or near sandstone gullies
heavily infested with camphor, have for over 40 years:
More recently, near farmhouses with a water tank that becomes overgrown
with camphor, landowners report that camphor leaves not only block or clog
up roof guttering and downpipes (due to their very slow rate of breakdown
or solubilisation, but that certain camphor chemotypes are implicated in
cases of persistent human sickness conditions linked to the tainted collected
water from off roofs.
had to replace split walls, paths and footings, broken apart by fast growing
camphor trunks and roots etc., and
been removing annual waves of germinating little tree weeds and their prolific
spreading root systems.