Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) and Barapa Barapa firefighters conducted a two- hectare traditional burn today in Gunbower State Forest.
FFMVic Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Allyson Lardner, said the Barapa Barapa people are the traditional owners of Lower Gunbower and the two-hectare burn site is culturally significant.
“Traditional burns are cooler, slower burns, with fires lit in patches to allow the flames to take their natural paths.
“FFMVic and Barapa Barapa firefighters will walk together through the burn site using spot fires to ignite small areas, slowly allowing the surface fuels over the whole site to be burnt.
“We call this mosaic burning and at the Gunbower site it will remove weeds, shrubs, dead grass and other vegetation as well as cleansing and regenerating the land.
“Two members of Barapa Barapa have completed FFMVic’s general firefighter training. These firefighters will work with experienced FFMVic firefighters throughout the traditional burn.
“Firefighters will patrol the burn area until the flames die out. Once deemed safe the Traditional Owners will undertake a survey of the area looking for cultural artefacts and burial mounds.
“FFMVic is committed to working together with Traditional Owners across Central Victoria to reintroduce traditional land management practices into Central Victoria to reduce bushfire risk to communities.
“We are at start of our journey to incorporate traditional burning practices into our planned burning program – marking the return of thousands of years of Aboriginal land management practices.”
Barapa Barapa Elder Neville Whyman said fire has been an integral part of how the Barapa Barapa has managed the land for thousands of years.
“To have our members be part of putting fire back into the landscape to help heal Country is a wonderful event in our Cultural and Historical history,” Uncle Neville said.
North Central Catchment Management Authority Project Officer Patrick Fagan said the traditional burn was requested by the Barapa Water for Country project, a partnership between the North Central Catchment Management Authority and Barapa Barapa Traditional Owners and The Living Murray program.
“We believe this is the first burn in partnership with FFMVic, directed by Traditional Owners, that has been held on Country since European occupation, which is why today is so significant,” Mr Fagan said.
To keep up to date on burns planned for the next 10 days in your area, go to www.ffm.vic.gov.au/plannedburn or download the VicEmergency app.
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