Territory Stories

Desert fire : fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia



Desert fire : fire and regional land management in the arid landscapes of Australia

Other title

edited by GP Edwards and GE Allan


Edwards, Glenn P; Allan, G. E.


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; DKCRC Report 37




Date:2009; Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).

Table of contents

Executive summary -- 1. Introduction and overview of Desert Fire -- 2. Managing fire in the southern Tanami Desert -- 3. Aboriginal burning issues in the southern Tanami: towards understanding tradition-based fire knowledge in a contemporary context -- 4. Pastoralists’ perspectives on the costs of widespread fires in the pastoral lands of the southern Northern Territory region of central Australia, 2000–02 -- 5. A review of fire management on central Australian conservation reserves: towards best practice -- 6. The fire history of Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve 1984–2005.




Fire Management -- Australia, Central

Publisher name

Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre

Place of publication

Alice Springs


DKCRC Report 37


iii, 338 p. : col. ill. ; 30 cm.

File type



1741581125; 1741581109





Copyright owner

Desert Knowledge Cooperative Research Centre



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

Desert Knowledge CRC2 Desert Fire: f i re and regional land management in the ar id landscapes of Austral ia Ch : A review of fire management on central Australian conservation reserves: towards best practice pp. 20908 APB is relatively expensive but can be a very cost-effective way of prescribed burning in extensive inaccessible areas. Typically it involves lighting fires and letting them burn, so is most suitable for fire-tolerant spinifex vegetation. It has been successfully used in fire tolerant vegetation in the proposed Davenport Ranges National Park (DRNP). If a helicopter is used for APB, it can subsequently be used to transport ground crews if it is decided to limit fire extent with active suppression (e.g. to protect firesensitive vegetation). In areas of the MacDonnell Ranges bioregion there are typically more fire-sensitive species to be aware of than in the DRNP. However, APB may still be appropriate, especially if used in damp and cold weather conditions that will mitigate intensity and reduce chances of fires spreading into fire-sensitive vegetation. There has been at least one scientific study of aerial prescribed burning in spinifex deserts (Burrows & van Didden 1991) and an unpublished investigation into using the method in the MacDonnell Ranges (Grant Allan, Bushfires NT, unpublished data). ...0 Fire management tools Fire management tools are thoroughly discussed in the CCNT fire manual (Preece et al.1989) and Matthews (2005). Matthews (2005) presents information on the use of blowers and new backpack spray units, and the value of using foam. Foam (a foaming additive in the water) has been found to increase the effectiveness of water in controlling fires and makes water in a backpack or vehicle fire unit last longer. If a new fire management manual is prepared for central Australian reserves, information from Matthews (2005) should be combined with information from Preece et al. (1989) on correct use of equipment and which equipment to use in which situation. ... Minimum safety issues It is vital that people working with fire have the correct authorisation, training, and safety equipment. A list of personal equipment for fire management workers is presented in Appendix 4. Training requirements for staff and volunteers involved in various types of fire management are presented in Appendix 5. When working with running fires, good communication is essential. There should be a nominated officer in charge and all participants must adhere to the directions of this person (see Prescribed fire implementation checklist above). Other safety issues are explained in the CCNT fire manual (Preece et al.1989) and in nationally accredited fire-fighting training courses run by Bushfires NT. .. Other methods for creating fire breaks and fuel reduction ... Mechanical and chemical means Mechanical In some situations the full width of a fire break can be created using machinery. This includes both strategic breaks and fuel removal around infrastructure such as signs and buildings. Breaks can be created with graders, either cutting into the surface soil to expose bare earth, or with the blade held just above the soil to sweep off vegetation. Grader lines are typically too narrow to be effective as strategic breaks by themselves. Without associated prescribed burning they will not stop many wildfires and so may be considered as control lines for prescribed burning or for back-burning in the event of a wildfire. A common and effective practice in central Australian reserves is use of a slashing machine attached to a tractor or quad. This has been a standard technique used to maintain breaks through dense buffel grass,

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