Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

New guiding principles for fire management in the WA rangelands

[August 2015]

A new set of knowledge-based principles is now available to land managers to guide fire management in the rangelands of Western Australia.

The guiding principles document brings together the expertise of the Rangelands Fire Leadership Group which includes representatives from Department of Fire and Emergency Services, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Pastoral and Graziers Association of WA, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) and Rangelands NRM.

Guiding principles for fire management in the WA rangelands provides a brief biophysical description of the WA rangelands, generic fire management principles applicable to most fire-prone regions of the rangelands and some principles specific to various regions of the rangelands.

The principles are based on scientific knowledge, experience and traditional knowledge from Aboriginal communities across the rangelands.

Department of Parks and Wildlife Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr Neil Burrows, who led the development of the guide, said all stakeholders in the WA rangelands are concerned with the protection of lives, property, livelihoods, cultural assets, biodiversity and environmental services from the harmful effects of inappropriate fire regimes.

“Land holders, land managers and bushfire emergency services are also interested in using planned fire to reduce the bushfire threat to these assets, to enhance ecosystem resilience, and manage pastures, along with other economic benefits,” he said.

The publication identifies broad bushfire regions, based largely on climate and vegetation, and summarises the fire environment, the likely natural or pre-European fire regime (which includes Aboriginal fire regime), the current fire regime, and critical knowledge gaps for each region.

Rangelands NRM Innovation and Development Manager Quinton Clasen said the Rangelands Fire Leadership Group was established after the 2014 Fire Forum to bring a coordinated approach to fire management and fire information across the rangelands and to help drive initiatives from the forums.

“One initiative was the need for these guiding principles that synthesize the fire knowledge and can assist landholders, land managers and bushfire emergency services with the formulation of policies, plans and prescriptions for good fire management in the rangelands,” he said.

[Download Guiding Principles].

1. Mosaic burning in the Kimberley. Photo courtesy MG Corporation.
2. NRM Fire Forum 2014. Photo by T. Belcher