Over 100 people meet in Cairns this week to discuss their fire management and carbon projects on Cape York.  This included land managers from local government, cattle stations, Traditional Owner groups, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and representatives from the Rural Fire Service.

Every year, wildfire impacts thousands of hectares of Cape York affecting livelihoods, plants, animals and delicate ecosystems. There are 33 savanna burning projects across Cape York, creating a new industry for Cape York’s land managers.

Cape York land managers are committed to working together to find solutions for better long-term fire management on Cape York. Peta Standley, Operations Manager, Cape York NRM said a key outcome of the Cape York Fire Forum was the commitment from land managers to collaboration. 

“There was a strong desire to develop, and train, a regional fire management support and response team that would be made up of people who are experienced managers of Cape York lands and who understand the challenges of fire.  The forum enabled connections to be made that will improve communication between neighbours on the Cape” she said.

Dr Leasie Felderhof, Director of Firescape Science was co-facilitator of the event.

“It was so great to see how much the ranger groups have progressed over the years – to planning and undertaking their fire projects and confidently reporting back their work to others. There was such a positive attitude from all participants and a real willingness to share, learn and collaborate and improve things in a positive way.

“There was an overall willingness to engage.  It was great to see the presence of a number of ‘influencers’ such as The Nature Conservancy, Department of Environment and the Queensland Rural Fire Service, so they could hear firsthand what the issues are for people on Cape York, and hopefully help to chart the way forward” Dr Felderhof said.

Barry Lyon, Conservation Sector Director, Cape York NRM said savanna burning projects were providing a real option for alternative incomes for Cape York’s land managers.

“However, this year there have a high number of late season wildfires across Cape York, and it seems many have been deliberately lit. Not only does that have serious consequences for our rare and threatened species on Cape York, it also has a serious impact on the livelihoods of the people who live here. Cape York NRM will be working to secure resources needed to continue coordination of regional fire management into the future” Mr Lyon said.

For more information about the Fire Forum, contact Peta-Marie Standley on 0418 198 244.