The Firesticks Regional Working Group meeting (RWG) was held between 24-26th February 2015 and kindly hosted by Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) in Lismore. The purpose of the RWG meeting was to build a cohesive burn schedule for the coming season and address environmental approval issues that have been stalling the implementation of burns across some of the Firesticks partner properties. The RWG was well attended by property coordinators, rangers and external stakeholders including representatives from the Rural Fire Service (RFS), Local Land Services (LLS), Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Firesticks staff and consultants.
The first day of the meeting featured a comprehensive tour of the Ngulingah properties which included the Nimbin Rocks property, Doorabee Grasslands and Cubawee located just outside Lismore. This tour offered project partners a glimpse into the environmental diversity of Ngulingah’s properties and some of the important restoration works that are being achieved by the rangers. One of the outcomes of the tour was the importance of rangers getting together from different properties to discuss issues and opportunities of fire management across differing environmental vegetation communities.
The main day of the meeting involved comprehensive updates from Firesticks partners on current works being implemented with some properties discussing contracted works funded directly through the Firesticks project. Many of these works being implemented were very innovative in nature and showcased the way many properties are using adaptive management to progress fire management strategies whilst they are unable to get formal environmental approvals. Following the partner updates a participatory planning session enabled a robust dialogue between project partners and external stakeholders on current issues in gaining suitable environmental approvals for burns. This dialogue offered up many possibilities of working together to find suitable mechanisms to support Aboriginal properties, but was emphatic that the solutions were in working collaboratively between agencies.
The final part of the main meeting day was focused on developing a burn schedule for the current season which will enable rangers from all properties to have the opportunity to be involved in burns within many different vegetation communities and gain further confidence and understanding of fire. A proposed burn on the Cubawee property was attempted by the Ngulingah rangers, but the previous weeks wet weather prevented the grassy paddock from burning this time. A follow up burn will occur in the near future once weather conditions have improved.
Firesticks would like to thank Ngulingah LALC for hosting the event and all participating in the RWG for their attendance. We look forward to working together to make the proposed actions a reality during the year ahead. The following images are a selection of activities conducted over the RWG meeting and were supplied by NCC staff and Dave Curry