BURNTTTM-4

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In an area known as Siberia just 8km's from the internationally renown elite ski resort of Thredbo in the Kosciuszko National Park in Australia the carbonized remains of pristine Alpine Ash forests lie underneath the winter snow. The 2020 "Black Summer" bushfires that swept Australia were unprecendented in their intensity and expanse. It is estimated that over 5.6 million hectares of bushland were burnt and as many as a billion native animals were incinerated. Even in the little known, but vast and unique alpine regions of Australia the devastation was almost complete. In an area normally covered by snow for four months of the year Kosciuszko National Park was extensively damaged. In areas that normally would retain moisture all year round and at elevations of over 1200m fires ripped through vast swathes of indigenous landscapes. The ferocity of the fires caused catastrophic conditions in which little survived. Unlike most Australian Eucalypts Alpine Ash is unique in that it drops seed onto the ground when it reaches maturity, which can take up to 50 years, to ensure its life cycle. Due to the increasing frequency, intensity and length of bushfire season in Australia, the rare Alpine Ash, which was largely burnt in 2003, has not had time to regenerate. In parts of KNP the original Alpine Ash stands are now lost forever.