Aunty Kerrie Burnet, Aunty Alice and Aunty Sarah Cunningham with Forestry Corporation's Brant Murphy
Aunty Kerrie Burnet, Aunty Alice and Aunty Sarah Cunningham with Forestry Corporation's Brant Murphy Contributed

Traditional bush burning under way

BEWARE when entering Wedding Bells State Forest over the next two weeks as Forestry Corporation of NSW undertake hazard reduction burns.

Using traditional Aboriginal fire practices, low-intensity burning will take place in Wedding Bells State Forest, north of Woolgoolga to reduce bushfire risk and improve access to country for cultural purposes.

"We regularly carry out hazard reduction burns in local State forests to reduce bushfire risk, but we are hoping that by working with local Aboriginal communities we can fulfil both traditional and contemporary obligations to care for country,” Forestry Corporation's Aboriginal Partnerships Team Leader John Shipp said.

The burning will be carried out with the local Aboriginal community, LALC's Darrunda Wajaarr Green Team and Forestry Corporation firefighters.

"This burn will reduce fuel levels on the forest floor, but it will much more closely reflect the frequent burning that has been traditionally carried out over the landscape for generations.

"Reinstating traditional burning practices will open up country for cultural purposes and restore that traditional forest structure.

Garby Elder Tony Dootson said that this burn was important for teaching the different methods between today's and yesterday's societies of looking after country and will hopefully bring a better outcome to managing the bush using traditional and European ways.

Burn underway in Wedding Bells State Forest.
Burn underway in Wedding Bells State Forest. Contributed

"It's important that we all work together to ensure that the bush is maintained as it was in the past, using fire to look after country and the animals. When wildfire comes through you can see first hand the impact that it has on our animals," Mr Dootson said.

Forestry Corporation's Forest Protection Manager Karel Zejbrlik said hazard reduction burns were one of the best and safest ways to reduce fire hazard but reminded people to be aware of smoke and stay away from burning or recently burnt areas.

"This hazard reduction burn will remove flammable material from the forest floor and significantly reduce the risk of a bushfire taking hold in the warmer months and threatening nearby homes," Mr Zejbrlik said.

"There's only a narrow window of opportunity to safely complete planned burns, when it's neither too hot and dry nor too cool and damp and the wind is not too strong.

Motorists driving along Sherwood Creek Road are warned to be aware of potential smoke across the road and to drive to the conditions.

People are advised to stay out of the forest until the fire has been fully extinguished and avoid entering recently burnt areas in the weeks following for safety reasons.

"We apologise for any inconvenience and thank the community for their understanding during this important burn. Information and updates will be available on the Rural Fire Service's Fires Near Me website and app throughout the burn."

For more information about Forestry Corporation of NSW, visit

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