In early 2019 CFA was asked to partner with the Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation to help with traditional burning on the Victorian Volcanic Plains.
This work was coordinated by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority (CMA) thanks to funding from the Federal Government. The aim was to support and provide knowledge about Indigenous burning in Western Victoria. This project was one of many that supported natural resource management by working with traditional owners to protect threatened ecological species.
Skipton Common is managed by the Ballarat Environmental Network and is a noted site for a variety of native grass species including Pimelea spinescens subsp. spinescens, a nationally-listed critically endangered species.
Over many years Captain Chris Heywood of Skipton Fire Brigade has provided input into the management of the Common from a fire prevention perspective. He thought the partnership with the Wadawurrung Aboriginal Corporation was a great opportunity to manage the fuel risk on the Common and benefit the environment.
After several meetings between the brigade, West Region Vegetation Management Team, Wadawurrung and the CMA a plan was devised to undertake the burn.
CFA obtained owner approvals, organised a burn plan and provided trucks to patrol the perimeters.
On the day of the burn the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners, led by Tammy Gilson, took control of the burn. The partnership was a great experience for those involved and was a stimulating learning environment.
Vegetation Management Officer Tony Brady said the burn was successful. It achieved all the objectives using a low intensity burn providing 60 per cent coverage, and a significant reduction in the fuel load.
It was a memorable day for CFA and we will certainly be looking for more opportunities to foster our partnership with traditional owners.
Watch a video of the burn.