JOINT INITIATIVE: Mark Flanders conducting a cultural briefing prior to the burn at Baombee Headland
JOINT INITIATIVE: Mark Flanders conducting a cultural briefing prior to the burn at Baombee Headland Jan Rooney

Fire as a form of regeneration

THE Gumbaynggirr people have traditionally used fire to help manage the landscape.

As senior cultural heritage officer and local Gumbaynggirr Elder from the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council, Mark Flanders explained, there was a variety of cultural and practical reasons why his people used fire.

"These included creating open camp sites and areas for communication along the coastline.

"Fires also cleaned up the camp site after use and encouraged fresh growth for hunting purposes. It also allowed an open area for the practice of traditional ceremonies.

"Frequent use of fire by Gumbaynggirr people maintained a high diversity of species in native grasslands and controlled regeneration of some woody species.”

Earlier this week an ecological and cultural burn was conducted on Boambee Headland as part of a project that aims to empower and build capacity among traditional custodians to participate in bush regeneration through the burning of native grasslands on coastal headlands. The project is supported by the NSW Government's Environmental Trust.

The burn was a joint operation between the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Coffs Harbour City Council, NSW Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Service and Gumbaynggirr firefighters from the Durrandar Wajarr team.

A similar burn was conducted on Macauleys Headland on May 17.

Locals and visitors are being urged to help native grasslands on headlands by keeping to the formed tracks as these areas are prone to invasion by weeds and disturbance by people.

Anyone interested in helping look after such areas more directly can also join a local Landcare group.



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