Cultural fire is fire put into the landscape by Traditional Owners for purposes including ceremony, protection of cultural and natural assets regeneration, fauna habitat protection and healing Country’s spirit.

DJAARA Cultural burn at Tang Tang Swamps

Photo: Djaara burn at Tang Tang Swamps - Liam Gallagher (Gunditjmara), Blair Gilson (Wadawurrung) and Billy Marchioni (Yorta Yorta)

Even faced with this season’s difficult conditions, Traditional Owners have already delivered 19 Cultural burns on public land this season, with several more scheduled for the coming weeks.

  • Barengi Gadjin worked with Wimmera District to deliver burns in Arapiles – Walpa Dyurrita (multi-day operations), Box Swamp WR – Walpa (multi day operations), Sheepwash Charam WR – Walpa (multi-day operations), Lower Norton – Walpa, and Wail BR – Lambing Hut Walpa.
  • Djaara worked with Murray Goldfields District to deliver burns in Tandarra – Thunder Swamp (multi-day operations), Whipstick – Brights Lane (multi-day operations), Whipstick – Nuggety Rd, Dingee – Tang Tang Swamp, Dingee – Tang Tang Swamp Block 1 NW, Hunter – Elmore-Cohuna Rail line BR, Boort – Woolshed Swamp, Mysia NCR – Old Boort Road, Newstead – Spring Hill Tk, You Yangs RP – Yawang Wiyn Dja, and Eppalock BR – Campaspe River.
  • Eastern Maar worked with Otway District to deliver a burn in Dreeite – Nature Reserve.
  • Yorta Yorta worked with Goulburn District to deliver a burn at Barmah – The Ranch Track.
  • Gunditj Mirring worked with Otway District to deliver a burn at Mt Clay SF – Saw Pit.

These have been great opportunities for FFMVic staff to partner with Traditional Owners and better understand the importance of cultural burns.

We have also been working in the background with Traditional Owner Groups to help upskill their staff and members, define priorities and plan for future burns. Many groups are using training and experience gained through partnering with FFMVic to deliver cultural burns in addition to those in the Joint Fuel Management Plan.

While the number of Traditional Owner-led burns on public land is increasing, many Traditional Owner Groups are also burning on private land, such as Gunditj Mirring and Budj Bim Rangers who have been doing cultural burning across the Budj Bim and Tyrendarra Indigenous Protected Areas, and Wadawurrung who have been doing cultural burning at Western Treatment Plant, Lake Borrie and Dog Rocks Teesdale.

These are important steps towards realising the Victorian Traditional Owner Cultural Fire Strategy to reinvigorate cultural fire and support Traditional Owners to use fire to heal Country and fulfil their rights to connect to and care for Country.

We are also appointing new Cultural Fire Officers to help FFMVic to better support Traditional Owners to undertake cultural burning.