Indigenous Fire Practitioner: ‘There’s Never Been A More Important Time’ To Adopt Traditional Burning Methods
Since it began in September, Australia’s unprecedented catastrophic bushfire crisis has led to over 10 million hectares of land being burned, millions of animals dying, thousands evacuating from their homes and almost 30 people losing their lives.
Though local fire services’ hazard reduction tools and back-burning continue to be discussed as strategies, traditional fire practices used by Aboriginal people before Australia was colonised by the British in 1788 have been gaining more attention.
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Indigenous fire practitioner Oliver Costello told HuffPost Australia that “there has never been a more important time than now to support us practising our knowledge and practice”.
The founder of Firesticks Alliance – an organisation that specialises in Aboriginal cultural burning – said the practice that dates back more than 80,000 years involves an examination and understanding of the entire ecosystem, which he said modern practices don’t necessarily consider.
What Is Cultural Burning
Cultural burning involves burning “trickling fires” in circles or mosaics across patches of land during cooler periods that typically start in March and April but can vary depending on the landscape. Its aim is to reduce fuel while also protecting plants and animals.
Costello said the...