Representatives from the Bunya, Coffs and Biripi Local Aboriginal Land Councils completed basic fire training with Forestry Corporation of NSW in Wauchope this week, paving the way for increased traditional burning in State forests.
Forestry Corporation’s Aboriginal Partnerships Team Leader, John Shipp said the training would enable more local Aboriginal communities to carry out hazard reduction burning using traditional low-intensity practices in State forests, in partnership with Forestry Corporation.
“Forestry Corporation has been working with local Aboriginal communities on the north and south coasts of NSW to carry out cultural burning as part of our regular hazard reduction burning program for several years now,” Mr Shipp said.
“Traditional burning is not just about using cool burning methods to reduce fire risk, it’s also about continuing culture, improving ease of movement through country for cultural purposes and restoring a traditional forest structure, so it’s vital that traditional burns are carried out by local Aboriginal communities.
“We work closely with Local Aboriginal Land Councils and Elders’ groups to facilitate traditional burning in State forests and ensure it fulfils both traditional and contemporary obligations to care for country.
“Providing basic fire training and accreditation to members of local Aboriginal communities will provide even greater opportunities for communities to be involved in traditional burning in State forests as both participants and observers.”
Forestry Corporation’s Senior Manager of Forest Stewardship, Kathy Lyons said traditional burning formed part of the ongoing hazard reduction program within State forests around NSW.
“Managing fire is a year-long task and during the cooler months we have an annual hazard reduction program to reduce fuel loads in forests,” Ms Lyons said.
“Over the past few years, some hazard reduction on the north and south coast has been carried out by local Aboriginal communities using traditional methods and we’re excited to be paving the way for further opportunities to introduce traditional burning into forests.”
Forestry Corporation is a statutory firefighting authority responsible for managing two million hectares of State forests across New South Wales.
Forestry Corporation staff are accredited firefighters who also assist with bushfires on public land and private property throughout NSW as well as interstate and overseas.
To find out more about Forestry Corporation visit www.forestrycorporation.com.au