Here in Kaipatiki, on the North Shore of Auckland, New Zealand, there are thousands of houses on forest and other reserve margins, with no fire breaks at all, and no vegetation management policy in relation to fire, I’ve been told in answer to queries to several departments of the city/regional land manager, Auckland Council.
In a volunteer manual weed control /restoration plot, since December 2018, I have been struck by the dryness of the (clay) soil as I try to dispose of dead plant material on the forest margin along an exposed and very sunny, windy ridge peak with a road and walkway along it. Anything brown or black on the ground becomes hot or at least warm to touch when the sun is out.
For a year I have been minutely considering and curtailing my manual weed control since finding that there is almost nowhere nearby that a significant amount of the resulting dry material will rot, in the dry soil conditions existing since Jan 2019.
There was a little rotting of the bottom layer of plant material at the soil surface during last winter, which was very short - there were only about 3 weeks in August when the ground was boggy, (usually its boggy for months), even further down the ridge, and only about 3 months (July-Aug?) when the ground wouldn’t be dry within a day or two of rain.
The soil is basically clay, acid from pre-homo sapiens kauri forests, of which fragments remain in some gullies.
In my restoration plot last summer (Jan-June 2019), the one place where I could put dry materials where they would conceivably rot was a patch of Tradescantia fluminensis under a dense stand of deciduous Erythrina x sykesii, creating shade during summer but invading the native canopy below and now scheduled for removal and/or poisoning.
In awe of the changed conditions and last year’s and the current wildfires in New Zealand, I would appreciate any thoughts, experiences or suggestions about any of this.