Two Aboriginal Fire Rangers walking beside a fire on the Dempster Plains on the west coast of Tasmania.
Aboriginal cultural burn on Dempster Plains (photograph: Matt Newton)

Aboriginal Fire Rangers commence new burning program

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​In a significant step toward joint land management between the PWS and Tasmanian Aboriginal people, PWS employed Aboriginal Fire Rangers have completed their first cultural burn.

The specialist Aboriginal Fire Rangers undertook the burn at Dempster Plains on the west coast, under the guidance of an Aboriginal Burning Project Officer. 

Aboriginal cultural burning has taken place on the Tasmanian landscape for more 40,000 years, and this program provides Aboriginal people with the opportunity to connect to country, share knowledge, and reduce the impact of bushfires in our community.​

Planned burns, like the cultural burn on Dempster Plains, are an important method to protect the landscape and vegetation values, along with enhancing the survival of sensitive plant communities. 

Learnings from the cultural burn on Dempster Plains will be used to support and inform more burns by Aboriginal PWS staff and the community. 

This burn follows the awarding of five grants to Tasmanian Aboriginal community organisations as part of a $100,000 pilot Aboriginal Cultural Burning Program. The grants will support communities to engage in cultural burning practices and build capacity in this practice. 

The successful applications included projects to plan and undertake cultural burns, purchase firefighting and personal protective equipment (PPE) and to undertake cultural burning training. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the program will help inform future directions.

Published 6/09/2021