A coordinated approach to fire management across all ten deserts means bringing together Indigenous people from many language groups, as well as non-Indigenous Australians, all of whom possess varying knowledge of desert ecosystems, weather patterns and desert-specific approaches to fire management.
Fire is a part of much of the desert, particularly the spinifex dominated sandplains in the north and west of the project area. The deserts are currently subjected to an ‘altered’ fire regime, one that has shifted as people have become absent from much of the environment.
Traditionally people walked the landscape and carefully ‘put in’ fire into the country as they moved, creating an intricate patchwork or mosaic of different fire ages and vegetation types. This patterning still exists in parts of the landscape close to some Indigenous communities, who still have a strong drive to hunt, gather and care for country as they have done for millennia. The project is working to combine traditional ‘right way fire’ practice with contemporary techniques to restore diversity in the landscape and reduce the impact of broad scale, lightening driven fires.
Regional fire management strategy
The 10 Desert’s Project regional fire management strategy forms the basis for building capacity across the desert by targeting regional activities such as training, on-ground fire operations and developing a pool of contract staff for Indigenous land management organisations to access on an as needs basis.
The strategy aims to:
- encourage collaboration between all land management agencies working across the deserts
- develop the capacity of Indigenous land management agencies and Indigenous ranger groups to undertake effective ‘right way fire’ management
- encourage the sharing of knowledge and learnings across the project area
- build opportunities for women to better engage in fire management activities across the deserts
- provide resources to respond to higher priority needs across the project area
- undertake work to determine if a carbon methodology is feasible across the project area