Fighting fire with fire

The camp aimed to implement fine scale early dry season burning to help protect the fragile sandstone heathlands from hot extensive wildfires later in the season

Covering over 20,000sq km, the Arnhem Land plateau is a rugged, ancient sandstone formation of sheer escarpments and gorges located 350km from Darwin in the Northern Territory.

The sandstone heathlands of the plateau are a significant ecological community of native shrubs, grasses and animals, many of which are threatened by destructive wildfires, disturbance by feral animals and invasion by weeds.

The Bininj Aboriginal people of West Arnhem Land have owned and cared for this country for more than 60,000 years. Today, Traditional Owners and Indigenous ranger groups are working in partnership with scientists, natural resource management organisations and government to help protect the plateau.

Territory Natural Resource Management is supporting a collaborative five year regional approach to protecting significant places and species in the West Arnhem and Kakadu region through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

As part of the regional approach, Indigenous rangers, scientists and other experts gathered at a workshop hosted by TNRM, to plan activities to enhance management of the West Arnhem and Kakadu region.

A priority from the workshop was actioned in May, when TNRM, together with the Jawoyn Association and Kakadu National Park organised a fire management camp at Jeywunaye (Sleizbeck) on the upper Katherine River, surrounded by the rugged Arnhem Plateau.

The camp aimed to implement fine scale early dry season burning to help protect the fragile sandstone heathlands from hot extensive wildfires later in the season.

The camp was attended by 60 Traditional Owners and Indigenous rangers from Kakadu, Jawoyn and Mangarrayi. The rangers conducted fine scale ground burning and were dropping into sites in the rugged sandstone country by helicopter, to walk ground burning lines, offering the opportunity to share ideas about what good fire and healthy heath country looks like.

For more information visit: territorynrm.org.au

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