When Phil Sheppard returned to his home in the Hunter Valley after recent fires, he saw, to his amazement, that most structures were still intact.
He points to Aboriginal cultural burning as the reason, based on thousands of years of traditional knowledge.
Unlike hazard reduction burning, cultural burns are cooler and slower moving, usually no taller than knee height, leaving tree canopies untouched and allowing animals to take refuge from the flames. Small fires are lit with matches, instead of drip torches, and burn in a circular pattern.
“It’s important that people recognise that it is valid, it does work, and what we’re looking for is some support for this from higher levels of government,” said Dennis Barber, an Aboriginal cultural fire practitioner.
It’s food for thought: take a look at the full story from our Indigenous Affairs reporter Ella Archibald-Binge here.