Indigenous Fire Management

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Indigenous fire management refers to the ancient practice of cool, mosaic burning that Aboriginal Peoples used – and continue to use – to help Care for Country, across the continent now known as Australia.

In simple terms, Indigenous fire management typically involves the lighting of ‘cool’ fires in targeted areas, during appropriate seasons in different Aboriginal countries, across the continent.

The fires burn slowly, reducing fuel loads and creating fire breaks. Not all the area is burnt, with the end result a mosaic of burnt and unburnt country. The method removes fuel for larger fires late in the dry season when the weather is very hot, at the same time as maintaining and protecting habitat for mammals, reptiles, insects and birds.

Highly skilled Indigenous people continue their traditional practices.  And highly skilled Indigenous land managers and rangers use traditional knowledge and techniques, together with modern science and technology, to fight fire with fire and reduce the likelihood of large uncontrolled wildfires.

For more information, get in touch with your own Indigenous contacts – or to make a start, visit some of these websites:

  • Firestix – https://www.firesticks.org.au/
  • Kimberley Land Council – https://www.klc.org.au/indigenous-fire-management
  • Creative Spirits – https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/land/aboriginal-fire-management

Read this excellent book by Victor Steffensen

  • Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia, by Victor Steffensen (2020)