Cape Barren Returns to Use of Ancient Burning Techniques

Truwana rangers have adopted the indigenous practices in an attempt to regenerate the land.

Rangers from the Truwana (the indigenous name for Cape Barren Island) have started employing ‘cool burn’ methods learned from traditional burners in the Top End.

Fires in the Cape Barren area have been particularly destructive to the environment. Paul Catrell from the Tasmanian Fire Service believes this is due to the vegetation that has been allowed to build over a long period of time.

The cool burn method of back-burning, which is used by traditional burners, is spread out in a patchwork over the land and has been specifically designed to protect it. This method of burning has been used to deter bushfires and support regeneration for centuries.

"You can go back in history and you can see that by doing this sort of practice that it stops those intensely devastating fires from occurring," Mr Catrell told the ABC.

Image: Still from Australia's Inferno

"They know the weather patterns, they know the country, they know the fuel types, they know what they want to protect."

A cool burn is a quick- burning fire that moves fast, avoiding damage to the roots andor earth so that, native plants can regrow.

According to recent research undertaken by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and local scientists , the traditional method of fire- burning can be dated back 40,000 years. However, it has only been 12 years since Cape Barren Island was returned to the traditional owners.

Terry Maynard, one of the Truwana Rangers explained the pride he feels caring for the land.

“It's really important now that we've had the land handed back to show people off the island how we can look after our land and that we want to," he said to the ABC.

Image: Australian Bushfire, National Georgaphic

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