Big wet sees longer time for burning

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One of the Top End’s largest wet seasons on record posed extra challenges for this year’s early season burning.

The annual planning meeting was this year hosted by Mimal at Barrapunta and involved about 100 people from across Arnhem Land.

With big rains comes lots of lush vegetation, so when Mimal Rangers went out on country to start putting our plan into action, a lot of country didn’t want to burn.

It made the job harder and required extra effort to achieve our goals, but the rangers embraced the challenge and did a good job.

Rangers have spent over 750 hours attending to about 10 major late season fires so far and they’re concentrating on high risk areas such along the roadside to minimise potential problems.

Some of the fires have been so remote and difficult to access, we’ve spent more than 60 hours in chopper flying time.

When an accident 8km from Weemol saw a stock truck catch alight and spark a small roadside fire, our rangers responded quickly to help put the fire out and save their gear.

Training has been an important focus this year with new rangers coming on board, and many from the group say fighting fires is getting easier with the use of technology, live maps and NAFI to pick up hotspots.

We have had good help from neighboring ranger groups and will continue to build on communication between us for faster response and further collaboration and cooperation.

If we get another long wet, we may include burning into August next year to reduce high risk areas.

 

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Emily Rutherford