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North Australian Fire Information (NAFI) site secures funding extension

The North Australian Fire Information (NAFI) website, a vital, online, real – time fire management tool for far northern and rangelands land managers has secured a funding extension from the Australian government.

In April, Cape York NRM Chair Emma Jackson sent an open letter to the Queensland and Australian Governments calling for continued funding for the site, which had over one million hits per month last fire season.

‘In December, around 100 Cape York Fire Forum participants, including Indigenous land managers, pastoralists, conservation managers, and carbon industry and agency staff, unanimously voted to request that the Queensland and Australian Governments continue to provide funding for the site,’ Ms Jackson said.

‘We urge the Queensland and Australian Governments to continue to support to the NAFI website, a critically important tool for land managers in the north.’

Violet Vale Station owner Niki Collins echoed Ms Jackson’s sentiments, describing NAFI as a vital resource for Cape York land managers.

‘We run Violet Vale Station, a 180,000-acre cattle property in Cape York, and use NAFI daily during the Dry Season to monitor fires,’ she said.

‘NAFI is an essential management tool in our business.’

Ms Collins said smoke was not a reliable indicator of the location of a fire – and NAFI enabled her to send resources to the right place so fires could be managed quickly, and to keep her team out of harm’s way.

‘There is no Rural Fire Service in Cape York so property owners must fight fires with their own resources,’ she explained.

‘You cannot rely just on smoke to determine the location of a fire. lf we know where the fire is via NAFI, we can ensure our people know where to go to manage the fire, or where to go to protect themselves from it.’

To the great relief of far northern land managers, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced a funding extension for the service on 26 June 2020.

‘This is a great outcome for land managers across northern Queensland and the rangelands,’ said NAFI Service Manager Peter Jacklyn, of Charles Darwin University.

‘Last year’s fire season was unprecedented and we are extremely glad that people living in Australia’s far north and rangelands have this service to help them as we head towards the northern fire season.’

‘We appreciate Cape York NRM’s support on this matter.’

Cape York NRM Chair Emma Jackson said she was grateful the site’s future was secure.

‘As cattle station owners, it’s something we use regularly,’ she said.

‘More importantly, it will help people across the far north look after their families, livestock, businesses, and homes. We applaud the government’s decision to expand funding for this vital service.