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Coen Fire Planning Workshop

A wide range of interests, from pastoral stations to Indigenous land trusts, governments and emergency services, were in Coen in mid-May for the first of two regional fire workshops this year.

Cape York NRM Fire Coordinator Andrew Drenen said the second would be held further north soon. “For the past ten years the Regional Fire Planning Workshops have been a chance for stakeholders to get together and plan their fire operations,” he said. “It’s also a chance to discuss key fire management issues such as woody thickening, introduced grasses and their impact on fire intensity and regimes, and plenty of other issues.

“We also talked about a control technique called ‘storm burning’, which is deliberate hot burns late in the year, and the need for permits for any planned burning.”

He said a review of last year’s fires was always first on the agenda. “I used an animation that shows where all the fires spread over Cape York last year,” he said. “We kicked off with that because that gets everyone in the mood when they see where the big fires were and the efforts put into early burning.”He said planning together was the first step towards working cohesively. “The outcome is everyone planning their fire operations as collectively as possible,” he said.

“The ultimate aim is to stop, or reduce, the number of wildfires through planning as comprehensively as possible – it’s a chance for everyone to bring any fire plans they’ve already developed and see where the connectivity is across our landscape. “We’re doing our best to work together.”

The workshops were supported by the Foundation for Rural Regional Renewal (FRRR) through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.