Top End fire forum unites First Nations rangers, delivering real outcomes

23 Nov 2023

The 2023 Annual Northern Territory Savanna Fire Management (SFM) Program Forum, hosted by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) has been hailed a major success, after participants gathered for the event in-person, for the very first time.

The forum brought together over 50 Indigenous fire practitioners, with scientific and business development experts, to help build ILSC supported projects, while strengthening connections between rangers and project partners.

The ranger groups represented five of the six emerging Indigenous carbon projects across the Top End.

Key conversation topics included linking traditional cultural knowledge with western science to deliver fire management over large areas and maintaining necessary records for carbon credit claims.

The forum showcased the Northern Australia Fire Institute (NAFI) fire mapping service – an integral tool which helps rangers see where fires are burning, areas that have already burnt, as well as historical fire data.

Based on the interpretation of satellite data, the tool allows rangers and fire managers to better visualise fires in landscape, resulting in a more targeted way of managing fire.

This was also an opportunity to discuss the specialised training and fire mapping products provided by the NAFI team, that can assist with detailed fire risk assessment.

Thamarrurr Development Cooperation Fire Manager, Torsten Unnasch, was excited to gather as a group for the first time and have these important discussions.

“It was pretty good to catch up with people in person, instead of over the telephone. We get much more input and a deeper knowledge of some topics,” said Mr Unnasch.

“We really enjoyed it, and the location (Lake Bennet Resort) was great.”

MurnkurruMurnkurru Gurindji Ranger, Jerone Bernard, said knowledge sharing amongst the ranger groups and fire managers has been a key part of the forum.

“It has been great to come and learn more about what we as rangers can do in different areas (across the Northern Territory),” said Mr Bernard.

ILSC Chief Operating Officer, Matthew Salmon, witnessed first-hand the dedication and persistence of the participants.

“The ILSC’s goal is to allow for knowledge sharing and a stronger Indigenous voice in all environment-related activities,” said Mr Salmon.

“It was great to see the forum used as a platform to discuss these important matters.”

Excitingly, planning for the 2024 SFM Program Forum has now commenced, with the hopes of bringing participants together face to face again.

The fire forum united more than 50 Indigenous fire rangers with scientific and business development experts
The fire forum united more than 50 Indigenous fire rangers with scientific and business development experts.

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