Firefighters take to the skies to end long running bushfire in Purnululu National Park

 Firefighters take to the skies to end long running bushfire in Purnululu National Park

19 August 2016

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Australia —  Aerial backburning will be used to try and stop a week-long bushfire that has been burning through cattle stations and the famous Purnululu National Park in Western Australia’s Kimberley region.

A helicopter will fly over the northern end of the national park, dropping incendiaries in an effort to stop the fire’s spread.

People camping in the Bungle Bungles were instructed to leave the park last Wednesday because of the fire threat.

Since then, around 85,000 hectares has been burnt in and around the World Heritage Listed national park.

Regional manager of the WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, Daryl Moncrieff, said the aerial burning operation would hopefully put an end to the long-running blaze.

“We’re going to do some aerial burning in an effort to lock this fire into some natural boundaries and nip it in the bud,” he said.

“We are confident [of bringing the bushfire to an end], because we’ve got some really low fuel areas that will back up this [aerial burning] plan as well.”

Mr Moncrieff said a lot of neighbouring pastoral land had been burnt during the week-long fire, but Indigenous rock art and the famed Bungle Bungle rock formations had been saved.

He said tourists would be allowed back once the park and access tracks were safe.

“Even if the fire has been extinguished, there’s still the issue of trees that have been burnt and could fall down and things like that,” he said.

“So we’ll need to check the campgrounds and the access tracks and that usually takes a couple of days.

“We’d like to think we could reopen the park in 24 to 48 hours, but it’s a wait and see approach.”

A lot of teams have been working on the Purnululu blaze, including the local Kija Rangers, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the Savannah Nickel emergency response crew.

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