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Ranger fire training goes next level

A series of  fire training courses start next month to build strategic fire capabilities for Indigenous land managers. 

Cape York NRM, in partnership with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) will deliver four nationally-accredited fire management training courses for Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land (CYPAL) Joint Management Land Trust Rangers and Rangers from neighboring Land Trusts.

 “Fire management on Cape York Peninsula is crucial as appropriate fire regimes not only reduce the impacts of destructive, unplanned fires, but can also encourage healthy landscapes and waterways that provide better habitat for plants and animals,” Cape York NRM Coastal Ecosystems Coordinator, David Preece said.

“Fire has been used as a way of looking after country for thousands of years by Indigenous cultures, and continues to be one of the most effective land management tools. We are assisting Land Trust rangers to have contemporary management skills that compliment their traditional fire knowledge.” 

Aside from lightning strikes that arrive late in the year before the wet season, most fires in Cape York are lit deliberately or by accident. Hot late-season uncontrolled wildfires can burn up to 70 per cent of Cape York in as little as a few weeks. 

Amongst the aims of the training courses is increased capacity of Land Trusts and their staff and to provide greater opportunity to take part in cooperative fire management operations involving other agencies such as QPWS or the Rural Fire Service.

QPWS has engaged fire management experts EMERG to develop three training courses for Land Trust rangers that cover Basic Fire Awareness and Basic Fire Fighter skills in fire safety, fire behaviour, radio communications, equipment selection and management, teamwork and command systems.

A fourth course is designed for crew leaders who will be fire operations supervisors. It is a pathway for those members who will need to complete additional units in the future around operational Prescribed Burning planning and implementation. It also enables cross-operability with fire agencies within NSW, Vic, Qld & NT.

Courses 1, 2 and 3 will have 13 attendees and another eight will complete the Crew Leader course. The first course begins on August 2-5 in Cooktown, a second course will be at Coen Ranger Base on August 9-8 and the third in Cooktown on August 16-19. The Crew Leader training will be carried out at Rinyirru Lakefield National Park from August 30 to September 2.

This project is supported by the Australian Governments Reef Trust 7.