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Contemporary cultural burn complements State forest fire management

Together with Eden’s Aboriginal community, Forestry Corporation of NSW will be conducting a contemporary cultural burn using traditional fire practices at East Boyd State Forest near Eden from April 4.

Next week’s cultural burn will begin with a traditional ceremony and continue for several days, with the aim of improving forest health and access to country for cultural purposes.

“Not only will the burn lower the risk of bushfire by reducing fuel levels on the forest floor, it’s going to provide ease of movement through country for cultural purposes and improve the health of the forest,” said Taine Davison from Forestry Corporation’s Aboriginal Partnerships team.

“Regular cool burns, used by Aboriginal communities for centuries, helped forests develop a more open understorey and denser canopy. Reinstating traditional burning practices will open up country for the local Aboriginal community and restore the traditional forest structure.”

For thousands of years, Indigenous Australians shaped and managed the health of the country’s forests using the firestick. Forestry Corporation acknowledges the value of this ancient local knowledge, which proved successful in preventing devastating wildfires and maintaining forest health.

“Forestry Corporation has a vision of working with Aboriginal communities to manage forests with a focus on sustainability, profitability and strong partnerships,” said Strategic Projects and Programs Leader, Justin Black.

“Through building trust and transparency, we are returning communities to the bush and the bush to communities.”

Forestry Corporation has carefully planned the operation in consultation with the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC), with the burn to be carried out by LALC Land and Sea Rangers in partnership with Forestry Corporation’s firefighters.

“Forestry Corporation is keen to manage fire and forest health across large areas of NSW in partnership with Aboriginal communities. Adaptive management research and monitoring has commenced in earnest and will build up momentum as we see more social and environmental benefits from these partnerships,” Mr Black said.

ELALC Chairperson BJ Cruise said this was the start of something really important between the LALC and Forestry Corporation.

“It is good that our people are involved in the maintenance of cultural heritage, and traditional burning is part of keeping culture alive. It’s also good for our people to be able to help protect the community in general and contribute to the wellbeing of the environment and society,” he said.

Forestry Corporation’s south coast Protection Supervisor, Julian Armstrong, urged people to be mindful of the burning activity and avoid the forest while burning takes place.

“For safe hazard reduction burns, we need to act when it’s not too hot and dry or too cool and damp and when the wind isn’t too strong.

“Unfortunately, smoke is unavoidable, so we’re asking that motorists along Imlay Road be aware there could be smoke in the area and please, drive to the conditions.

“We also advise people to stay out of the forest until the fire has been fully extinguished and avoid entering recently-burnt areas in the weeks following the burn for safety reasons.

“We thank the community for their understanding during this important burn. Updates and further information will be made available on the Rural Fire Service’s Fires Near Me website and app throughout the burn.”

For more information about Forestry Corporation of NSW, visit Media Release

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