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Normanby fire workshop

Story Peta-Marie Standley

Fire management training opportunities for land managers on the Cape have increased

As late season fires continued to burn across Cape York, many land managers undertaking best practice savanna burning fire management implemented their early season burns prior to 1 August 2018.

However, sometimes these early burns were not enough to prevent large areas of the landscape from burning in the late dry season.

In order to maintain diversity in vegetation communities, and ensure the abatement of carbon emissions, more work needs to be done to encourage land managers to work together. Improvement could be achieved by combining resources such as reducing individual expenses by sharing aerial runs.

In 2018, Cape York NRM provided a range of training options for Indigenous and non-Indigenous land managers.

Training options included:

• Aerial incendiary bombing
• Cape York specific recognised fire management competencies, such as level one fire training
• Training in Indigenous cultural burning methods which have been honed over thousands of years to maintain biodiversity and landscape health
• Training in on ground monitoring of specific fire regimes, and
• Interpreting satellite imagery as provided by the vital North Australian Fire Information Service.

Cape York NRM has been able to increase collaboration and coordination of fire management practices between land managers, and has increased training opportunities for land managers on the Cape. This training has been made possible through investment from both the Australian Government National Landcare Programme, QFF Reef Alliance, State Natural Resource Management Program and philanthropic investment from the Nature Conservancy.

One of the projects funded through the National Landcare Programme delivered cultural and western science assessments of Country, including fire management and water quality.

In June 2018, twenty traditional owners from Western Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, Rinyirru Land Trust, Awu Laya Aboriginal Corporation, Laura Rangers and Gambir Yidinji Cultural Heritage met on Mary Valley Station, north of Laura, over three days.

They were there to undertake Level One fire training delivered by Cape York NRM Regional Fire Management Coordinator Barry Lyon.

This training was combined with training in and sharing knowledge of cultural burning between groups, and was facilitated by Victor Steffensen from Mulong.

As part of this project, monitoring points were established and water quality data recorded as a baseline to measure change over time.

Sub-regional fire management workshops such as this allow groups to come together to share and improve skills and learnings so that they can support each other in the implementation of burns on Country.

 

VICTOR STEFFENSEN ILLUSTRATING A COOL FIRE | PHOTO PETA-MARIE STANDLEY
VICTOR STEFFENSEN ILLUSTRATING A COOL FIRE | PHOTO PETA-MARIE STANDLEY

 

BARRY LYON CONVENING TRAINING PHOTO VICKI WUNDERSITZ
BARRY LYON CONVENING TRAINING | PHOTO VICKI WUNDERSITZ

 

PETA-MARIE STANDLEY / PHOTO BEN LISTER
PETA-MARIE STANDLEY | PHOTO BEN LISTER