16 May 2024

Bromley brings back traditional Indigenous burning practices

| Cape York Weekly
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A new program has reintroduced traditional fire management practices to the Bromley Indigenous Protected Area, with nine Traditional Owners now accredited fire managers. Photo: Supplied.

Traditional burning practices have been successfully reintroduced into the Bromley Indigenous Protected Area to maintain and restore habitat for threatened species, including the endangered palm cockatoo.

The new fire management program was developed with the assistance of a Looking After Country grant from the State Government, with Cape York Natural Resource Management providing planning support.

Bromley Aboriginal Corporation co-ordinator Chrissy Warren said the reintroduction of traditional Indigenous burning methodology would allow for a transition to “an appropriate fire regime” in the area.

“The program has brought fire management into a landscape where, in some areas, there has been no fire for many years and a more recent history of wildfires in others,” she said.

“This program is providing a gradual transition back to an appropriate fire regime, and has provided opportunities for individuals to learn history and known ecological and cultural values to develop individual burn methodologies and operational maps.”

READ ALSO Cape York NRM calls for local fire management knowledge

Nine Traditional Owners have become accredited fire managers through the program, and now undertake on-ground inspections of Country to inform decision making around fire management.

Ms Warren said traditional fire management had long protected rainforest patches as food sources for palm cockatoos, and preserved their hollow nesting trees in the adjacent woodland.

She added the program had employment and social benefits for the Bromley Traditional Owners.

“The Traditional Owners all live off the Bromley property,” Ms Warren said.

“The opportunity for employment and the resources to support spending time on Country is a key priority.

“They also have Country on adjoining properties including Wuthathi, Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park and Mangkuma Land Trust.

“By building the capacity of the Bromley Traditional Owners, this project benefits adjoining properties and the wider community, and creates a skilled and qualified workforce through the delivery of accredited fire training.”

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