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 CRC 9Desert Fire: f i re and regional land management in the ar id landscapes of Austral ia Ch : The fire history of Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve 98200 pp. 098 Many of the fires in the past decade have been mapped with a handheld GPS, recording a track while walking the boundary. A majority of these boundaries can be presumed to be accurate to within +/- 10 metres (assuming that the differential GPS data correction technique was used prior to cessation of selective availability). However, the mapping method has not always been recorded, and even some recent polygons may have been hand digitised in ArcView without any GPS coordinates, or mapped with a combination of GPS data for some boundary sections and hand-digitising for others. .. Review of reporting styles and content There is a lot of variation in style and detail of written fire documentation. In some years a formal report was written, and sometimes separate documents were written to document proposed burning. For some years, it is unclear from the documents whether or not the proposed burns were implemented. There is a substantial gap in records between 1984 and 1989. Up to 1990, only single page pre- and postfire monitoring forms exist, and only for some of the mapped fires. The quality of reporting was much improved for 1992, when the Central District Parks Fire Management Strategy (FMS) was created. The strategy states that fire history maps will be prepared and updated annually when a burn is conducted on the Reserve. However, no reports were found from 1992 to 1998. Reporting of burning activities only became relatively consistent from 1999 onwards. The biophysical mapping ranger training camp that occurred in 1998 provided extensive information on the Reserves ecological issues and simultaneously raised the level of skill and understanding among rangers in fire management. 1984 (Map 6.3) Two pre-fire report forms were found for 1984 and no other written documentation, yet a total of 14 prescribed burn polygons were found on paper maps. From the information provided from the two written records, both fires burnt through spinifex and were of low intensity, with one burning along the western section of the track towards the bore and the other in the western half of the Reserve. These fires are followed up by post-fire monitoring reports in March 1985, describing regrowth of plants at both sites. 19851988 No fire records were found for the period 19851988. 1989 (Map 6.4) There were four pre-fire assessment forms and five post-fire reports for 1989 with four of the five burns successfully implemented. The main stated purposes of the prescribed fires were the protection of pastoral property, public safety in visitor areas and dividing the park in half. The implemented burns were roughly drawn on the provided grids of the fire report forms. 1990 (Map 6.4) In 1990 only two small patch burns had been recorded on the eastern boundary of the park. In the same year the first fire management plan for the Reserve was written (it was brief, and handwritten), followed by a more comprehensive 1992 fire management strategy document for Central District Parks which includes the Reserve. 1991 (Map 6.4) In 1991 there were several small patch burns on the eastern boundary. There is a written reference to another area being burnt in the same year, in the central-northern part of the Reserve. The report stated that the area had been previously burned by prescribed fire over 10 years earlier, yet no mapping showing the locations of either of these burns could be found.

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