Still Wild, Still Threatened released this statement on March 7.
Miranda Gibson has today reluctantly left her perch high up in the Observer Tree, after 457 days, as a bushfire burned to within a kilometre and it became clear that predicted hot weather early next week could precipitate an emergency situation in the remote forest.
Smoke is filling the Tyenna valley and the sounds of crashing trees can be heard nearby as the wildfire has grown from three hectares yesterday afternoon to 40 hectares this morning, with the fire currently unable to be contained.
Gibson, of Still Wild Still Threatened, has spent almost 15 months in the Observer Tree after she climbed up on December 14 2011, vowing to remain as long as possible to defend the forests, including the World Heritage value area in which the tree is situated.
“Nature can be wild and unpredictable, and whilst I was able to withstand winter snow and summer heat exposed to the elements 60 metres up the Observer Tree, it is the sensible and safe decision to climb down now rather than put lives at risk with the bushfire so close.
“Our campaign to stop the logging of these World Heritage nominated forests and of the proposed protected areas will continue despite my exit from the Observer Tree. Although it is disappointing to leave this forest whilst these precious places continue to fall to the chainsaw, I have a huge respect for the forces of nature that are in play. And I remain as dedicated as ever to standing up for Tasmania’s threatened forests.”
Gibson has gathered a large international following as she has communicated with people around the planet via solar powered internet from the remote tree tops of Tasmania.
“I want to stress that magnificent forests are still in jeopardy, including places it has been agreed should be protected and become World Heritage listed, and that our will to see them safe remains as strong as ever.
"The campaign for these globally significant forests will now move into a new phase,” Gibson concluded.