Aboriginal traditional burning practices have now been included in the Wimmera Fire District’s planned burning program as part of a partnership between Forest Fire Management Victoria and Barengi Gadjin Land Council.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Wimmera District Manager Glenn Rudolph said: “As part of the partnership, the Walpa Dyurrita cultural burn took place at the Centenary Park Campground at the base of Mt Arapiles within the Mt Arapiles-Tooan State Park.

“One of the most exciting aspects of the burn was that it was initiated, planned and delivered by traditional owner staff, led by Parks Victoria’s Damien Skurrie,” Mr Rudolph said.

“We are fortunate we have several Wotjobaluk people with extensive experience in contemporary fire management, who combine current and traditional fire knowledge to inform our traditional burning practices.

“It is fantastic that the crew lighting the burn were Traditional Owner staff from DELWP and Parks Victoria and two Barengi Gadjin staff, watched over by Wotjobaluk Elders.

“This work marks the return of thousands of years of Aboriginal land management practices.  We are proud and privileged to have been part of this event.”

Barengi Gadjin CEO Michael Stewart supported the return of traditional burning in this partnership approach.

“For thousands of years Wotjobaluk peoples managed this Country successfully and fire was integral to that effort,” Mr Stewart said.

“This burn marks a fundamental step in the restoration of our Country; fire is about health of Country and of people.

“Seeing smoke from traditional burns rising is a powerful and healing sign for everyone, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike”.  

Natimuk Bush Kinder kids also participated in the day with a firestick briefing with traditional owners before the burn.