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Rangelands partnership enables mapping of fire history

Media Release

Multiple partners have come together to enable the extension of a fire history map across the entire rangelands of Western Australia.

Through a cross-sector collaboration initiative driven by Rangelands NRM, five partners have co-funded the extension of the current North Australian and Rangelands Fire Information or ´NAFI´ website map viewer which is administered by the Charles Darwin University NAFI team.

Partners include Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ), Roy Hill mining, Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust, the Pilbara Corridors Proejct and the Australian Government.

The WA rangelands experience problematic fire regimes consisting of overly large and intense wildfires. In addition to posing a threat to life and property, such fire regimes negatively impact biodiversity, pastoral production, cultural heritage and tourism.

Rangelands NRM Innovation Development Manager Quinton Clasen said the Rangelands Community Fire Forums identified the need to extend active fire mapping and hotspots beyond the Kimberley region in order to provide several years of historial fire scar mapping. 

´Now users will be able to view the seasonality of fires in recent years, which will enable better fire management decisions and planning across the rangelands,” he said.

´What´s really exciting is that this tool is what land managers and fire practitioners have asked for, and the co-funders and Rangelands Fire Leadership Group have simply found a way to make it happen.”  

Gareth Catt, KJ Fire Officer said Martu have always managed country through carefully applied fire. 

´We are happy to help fund this extension of NAFI because it is a practical tool for us and other organisations who don't currently have access to relevant fire history information. It will complement our existing detailed fire scar mapping.” 

Roy Hill is providing funding, as a component of their landscape-scale Threatened Fauna Offset program, to enable additional years of fire scar mapping to be accomplished.

´Other users, such as Roy Hill fire managers, will greatly benefit from the outputs of this project in being able to plan emergency responses and provide an early warning mechanism, to protect infrastructure that stretches from Port Hedland to the mine site, just north of Newman,” Ms Susanna Beech, Environment and Approvals Manager for Roy Hill said. 

"This fantastic project will deliver more accurate fire histories across the state, leading to an increase in knowledge about fire impacts on biodiversity, refuges and fire scales," said Great Victoria Desert Biodiversity Trust Co-ordinator, Kathryn Sinclair.

Significant advances in landscape fire management have been achieved in selected WA rangelands landscapes over the past decade – most notably through the Kimberley EcoFire project and Martu, KJ and Throssell Coordinating Group in the Western Desert.

Mr Clasen said these initiatives have demonstrated the worth of a coordinated approach to fire over approximately 10 million hectares.  

-ENDS-

Contact:
Teresa Belcher, Communications Manager
Rangelands NRM, WA
Tel: 08 9468 5253
Mobile: 0488 594 324
Email: teresab@rangelandswa.com.au 

 
[Map] NAFI expansion from the Kimberley to across the entire Rangelands

NOTES FOR EDITOR:

About NAFI

The existing NAFI website is a mapping tool that is widely used by fire practitioners across the Kimberley, Northern Territory and Queensland. At this month´s launch of WA rangelands wide coverage, it has 2013-present histories plus hot spots. Histories back to 2003 will progressively be made available over the remaining year. NAFI provides information that is quick, effective and simple. It works at the property and broader levels, so it is a very useful tool to support landscape scale efforts. Burnt areas on the maps are presented in a way that is practical to the user–for example, colour coded by month, alongside hotspots of active fire.

About the Rangelands Fire Leadership Group

Rangelands NRM facilitated an annual Fire Forum in 2014 and 2015 to bring a coordinated approach to fire management incorporating perspectives from biodiversity conservation, pastoral and Indigenous groups. The Rangelands Fire Leadership Group was set up to drive the actions from the annual fire forums. Membership of the group includes representatives from Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW), Pastoral and Graziers Association of WA (PGA), Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa (KJ) and Rangelands NRM.

The Group authored Guiding Principles for fire management in the WA rangelands.

Rangelands NRM

Rangelands NRM WA is a not for profit, non-aligned, community-based group which aims to enhance the sustainable management of the WA rangelands through facilitation, collaboration and delivering outcomes. It is the largest of the 56 NRM regions in Australia, covering around 85 per cent (2,266,000 sq km) of the WA State´s land mass, and 75 per cent of the coastline.