Appropriate Fire Management

Adaptation pathway

Every year large areas of Cape York Peninsula burn at the wrong time, affecting the health and function of the landscape. Many places burn hot that should not and often places that should be protected from fire burn. The impacts of ongoing poor fire management in Cape York are not well understood.

This adaptation pathway identifies actions that work toward improving governance of fire management on Cape York. The pathway brings together organisations and land managers of geographical clusters to work together across landscapes. The actions will connect people to exchange knowledge, collate information and data, develop technical resources, provide on-ground resources and provide training in implementing and monitoring of fire.

This will occur by supporting both western and Indigenous fire knowledge holders and practitioners to improve implementation of contemporary fire practice.

How was it identified?

Fire is a well-known issue on Cape York. We identified this as a key pathway through listening to the community's big concerns via long-term engagement, development of the regional investment strategy, experience in implementing landscape scale fire projects and years of delivering the Indigenous Fire Workshop.

We have analysed the past 15 years of fire history on Cape York in addition to previous and current fire projects and research papers. This analysis has been further informed by partnerships with Traditional owners, scientists and technical experts as well as discussions with research bodies and Government organisations implementing and developing the savannah burning methodology. We have been developing monitoring tools with our regional delivery partners, developing and sharing resources with land managers, undertaking case studies, meeting with Carbon businesses and working with land managers implementing fire projects.

Fire is a critical factor in the context of climate change impacts on Cape York, as discussed by the regional climate reports.

  • Conduct workshops and engagement to identify values, aspirations, knowledge and methods across the landscape.
  • Collate surveys and quotes from interviews at events such as the Indigenous Fire Workshop.
  • Support the North Australia Fire Information service to monitor fire by satellite.
  • Map and categorise vegetation into fire types.
  • Improve understanding of impacts of fire management on land condition and water quality
  • Increase on-ground monitoring
  • Facilitate Indigenous-led on-country fire workshops to collectively learn and build on people's techniques and knowledge for appropriate fire management.
  • Trial cluster-based fire management with advice from fire experts, to collectively learn about the effects and impacts of appropriate burning, including savannah burning methodologies through the Carbon Farming Initiative.
  • Conduct training and skills development for appropriate burning and monitoring techniques and tools.
  • Support land managers to plan for and build skills in implementing and monitoring fire management.
  • Support development of skilled fire managers.
  • Develop priorities for management across clusters of properties.
  • Analyse the results of burn trials.
  • Identify key field resources and people to support fire management.
  • Seek information and knowledge on the effects of different fire regimes on ecosystems, including water quality.
  • Support the development of governance structures that improve co-ordination and delivery of fire management on Cape York.
  • Develop and promote resources, information and case studies with community partners to build awareness about appropriate methods for fire management.
  • Bring together key experts and knowledge holders, with resources and funds, to implement burns across the clusters.
  • Ensure the right people are speaking for fire on country, through supporting appropriate governance structures.
  • Support groups to implement and improve implementation of Carbon Farming Initiative savannah burning methodology projects and in the future savannah sequestration projects.
  • Support groups and land managers to share knowledge with each other through mentorship, knowledge exchanges and through the ATLAS.