Autumn rain prompts cultural burns

Autumn rain prompts cultural burns

05 May 2017

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Australia – During the past two years Riverina Local Land Services has worked with Wiradjuri community members to culturally burn travelling stock reserves (TSRs) within the Wagga region.

Long term plant build up at the Fiveways TSR west of Henty developed a bushfire hazard, identified by local community members.

In partnership with Riverina Local Land Services and NSW Rural Fire Service, five Wiradjuri community members evaluated the area.

They identified that ground cover moisture needed to increase for a cultural burn to be effective.

Recent autumn rains provided an opportunity to safely carry out cultural burning to remove bush fire danger and promote native species diversity. Project manager Leanna Moerkerken said that without rain this area would have burnt far too hot and damaged extensive fields of native chocolate lily at the northern end of the reserve.

“Burns through this program generate dramatic changes where grass cover and native plant diversity has increased in response to cool mosaic cultural burning.”

This reserve contains 27 hectares of endangered Grey Box Grassy Woodland, which has now been burnt using traditional methods.

Wiradjuri participant Raymond Woods used his skills to actively direct fire though a young stand of wattles, which usually flare in fire. With his guidance the flames crept through at a height of 20cm leaving the wattles untouched by the burn.

Further TSR burns are scheduled with Wiradjuri community members throughout winter and spring.

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