Fire has always been a part of country in Australia. Traditionally, people walked the landscape and carefully ‘put in’ fire into the country as they moved, creating an intricate patchwork or mosaic of different fire ages and vegetation types. This patterning still exists in parts of the landscape close to some Indigenous communities, who still have a strong drive to hunt, gather and care for country as they have done for millennia.
Indigenous rangers working on Indigenous Protected Areas and beyond combine traditional ‘right way fire’ practice with contemporary techniques to reduce the impact of broad scale, destructive fires on the landscape.
When we at Country Needs People talk about the destructive fires terrorising our country, we’re not only thinking of the fires ravaging New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia right now. We’re talking about the dangerous fire season that our partners in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and the Great Western Woodlands, Western Australia have been facing. We’re talking about an area bigger than the state of Tasmania that burnt in the Kimberley, Western Australia last year. And the wildfires that tore through Central Australia shortly afterwards.
Strategic fire management needs more long term funding security to support landscape-scale, long term planning and implementation.