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Fire management for the early dry

Planning is underway to map out a fire burning regime for the Cape’s landholders as the early dry season takes hold. 

“We’ve had a bit of late rain in some areas last week, so that puts us back a bit, but it’s all about working with the country as it dries out,” Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) officer Andrew Hartwig said. 

“Fuel cures at different rates across the Cape so we work around that.”

“As well as working with the weather, it’s also a very busy time at the stations with mustering, so we do our best to work around station activities.”

Andrew has been working with two other Cape York NRM staff members, Coastal Ecosystems Coordinator Dave Preece, and newcomer Andrew Drenen, who started as the organisation’s Fire Coordinator in May. 

They have been meeting with land managers, landowners and Indigenous freehold groups to review last year's fire management actions, and discuss strategies for this year’s activities.

The coordinated burns will be carried out across the southern Cape region then north to Coen.

“Large scale, cross-tenure aerial burning programs create strategic firebreaks across vast areas of the landscape and provide great efficiencies in cost and use of resources,” Dave Preece said. 

“The objective is to create a diversity of burnt and unburnt vegetation that will reduce the spread and intensity of late dry season wildfires.

“Using helicopters allows us to cover great distances and get a lot of work done in a short amount of time.”

Aerial burns use machines in the helicopters which drop small incendiary balls in targeted areas that burn for about a minute after they have hit the ground, creating small, manageable fire breaks. 

Andrew said early burns will begin at Fairview Station, in collaboration with Queensland Parks and Wildlife, before “we make our way north”.


The fire management activities are funded by the National Reef Trust VII program, Healthy Farming Futures and Regional Agriculture and Landscape Facilitators (RALF).